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. Eating inside the trailer makes Abbey remember

2. Abbey will be allowed to drive the government truck

3. Edward Abbey is employed by the

4. Why did Roy Scobie need to round up his cattle?

5. Abbey describes the views from his trailer as

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Abbey get rid of the rattlesnakes?

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. Abbey mentions that both men he meets are married and have children. Can we assume Abbey is neither? Why or why not?

5. Abbey seems to jump back and forth in time in his book. Where in this chapter does that first become obvious?

6. 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?

7. Why does Abbey kill a wild rabbit?

8. How seriously is Abbey taking this government job?

9. Why would the obsidian shards be named "Apache tears?"

10. Explain Abbey's frustration with Roy Scobie.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The man-made lakes that have been developed by the federal government in the Arches parks are named after men who personally experienced those areas. Research and write about the two men after whom the major lakes have been named, and their contributions to the area. Do you feel their contributions are congruent with the projects that have been named in their honor? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Choose ten plants or bushes that Abbey describes in this book, and do more intensive study on the flora of the desert by researching these particular plant species. Why does each thrive in the desert, what are their built-in defense systems, what seasons do they bloom or go to seed, how does each reproduce, and what intrinsic values do they possess in terms of beauty, sustenance for other living things, medicinal properties, shade, etc. Try to locate visual images of the plants to add to your essay.

Essay Topic 3

Could you, and would you, volunteer for a job through the summer in the desert, knowing the harsh conditions? Why do you think Edward Abbey deliberately, and more than once, took the Park Ranger job for the summer, which was clearly an extreme challenge? Is he a little crazy, as he notes? What does the experience provide him with, if anything?

(see the answer keys)

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