Desert Solitaire Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why was the government interested in the Arches national park area?

2. Abbey is polemic about

3. A medicinal property of the buckbrush is that of

4. Roy Scobie is known for being frugal with

5. Viviano's English is about fifty percent

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the two wild animals that Abbey has never seen in the Southwest?

2. What is an example of the primitive attitudes of Native Americans, as expressed by Abbey?

3. Discuss how different the daily life of an pre-Columbian Native American was, as compared to the daily life of an American now.

4. Discuss Abbey's relationship with the natural world as he watches the stars.

5. Why does Abbey kill a wild rabbit?

6. Explain Abbey's reasoning that joy may support survival.

7. Is Abbey's story of Husk and Graham a fact-checked, absolutely correct retelling?

8. Explain Abbey's vague contempt for human beings that emerges in this chapter.

9. The author has arrived in Utah, having come from New Mexico. How different is the terrain in this new place from what he is accustomed to?

10. What is one of the innate demands of industrial tourism?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

As a tourist, one might have found Abbey to be mysterious. Although he had a great sense of humor with the tourists, he is clearly shrouding feelings that they don't know about, opinions that come through in his humorous sarcasm. In the Episodes and Visions chapter, do a close reading of Abbey's conversations and private thoughts, and analyze what you feel he wished he could say to them, instead of what he did say.

Essay Topic 2

Desert Solitaire was first written in 1956, and reprinted several times after that. Abbey obviously added some text over time. Do a close reading of the section where Abbey describes the experience of noontime in the desert as a psychedelic experience. Are you able to "feel" and understand what he is trying to say? Is he, perhaps, suffering from heat stroke at that time, or is he disoriented. Discuss in your essay the kinds of literary tools Abbey uses to help us experience his story.

Essay Topic 3

Edward Abbey is a reporter and narrator, explaining what he sees, hears, feels and experiences. However, he does not necessarily let the reader into his heart and soul regarding his personal life. He chooses this reclusive job, and makes journeys into wilderness areas where there are no people. Is Abbey a recluse by nature? Why does he seem to prefer this solitude? Are there hints in the story about his personal life? If so, describe and interpret them.

(see the answer keys)

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