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. On his stomach, Abbey witnesses

2. Who comes out ahead in Abbey's story about Husk and Graham?

3. Delicate Arch has been eroded by

4. Abbey wonders if a man could get used to

5. Ten miles away past the highway, Abbey can see

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does the author project his own sensibilities onto the doves that he hears calling? Why?

3. What is Viviano Jacquez's problem?

4. For what does the author seem to be searching by taking this job?

5. Abbey describes areas where one can find artifacts from Native Americans in the form of arrowheads and spearheads, made from obsidian. There is a law that prohibits removing stones from the national park. Do you think these artifacts can still be found in the "shady alcoves under canyon walls" in the Arches?

6. What does Abbey suggest should be done about the erosion of national parks?

7. How does Abbey get rid of the rattlesnakes?

8. What concession does Abbey make to man's ingenuity when it comes to life in the desert?

9. Why does Abbey's watch seem absurd to him?

10. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Consider the time(s) in history that this book was written. By the time of the last printing of this story, what had happened that had exposed, particularly to Americans, the true nature of the rat race we had created? Would this book have been more important if it had been written during another era? Would it have been given more attention by reviewers and critics if it had been written in this decade? Be sure to read Abbey's Preface to learn about how the book was received.

Essay Topic 2

Edward Abbey goes into great detail in his story about Husk and Graham and the search for uranium. Why would he embellish this story so much, given that it was simply a legend in the area and he could not possibly have known such detail? What is the point of drawing the reader along through this story? Is there some hint that he provides that tells us who the real villain is? Do a detailed reading and write about Abbey's literary license in turning this into a detailed tale, and describe what effect he is attempting to create with it. What devices does he use within his story of Husk and Graham for irony?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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