Desert Solitaire Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

Short Answer Questions

1. The Moab Valley in the distance lies between

2. Abbey feels if you have reached the point of needing moisture from the barrel cactus

3. April mornings in the desert are

4. Water has not created the arches, but they are instead carved by

5. Why were the little calves terrified during the roundup?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

2. Abbey does not speak highly of the man-made lakes on the Colorado. Why?

3. Abbey mentions thinking the unthinkable as he drives through the desert past the Arches headquarters. To what is he referring?

4. The poet to whom Abbey refers in this chapter when he says, "It was all foreseen a half century ago," is Robinson Jeffers, and his poem is entitled "Broken Balance." Why does Abbey not provide the reader with that information, when he has so adamantly laid out his reasoning and feelings for us in the previous paragraphs?

5. Where in this chapter does Abbey foreshadow a story involving quicksand?

6. Why do the men make jokes about the dead man?

7. Why does Abbey persist in pursuing Moon-Eye when the heat and conditions have become quite uncomfortable for him?

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

9. Explain Abbey's description of the life cycle of the spadefoot toad.

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Abbey and his friend, Newcomb, enjoy an incredible rafting trip down the Colorado River, separating themselves from humanity in general. Discuss in a detailed essay Abbey's mixed feelings of revulsion and delight about the human race. How does this trip down the river bring things into focus for him? Since he is a human himself, does he simply feel superior to most people, or are his objections more theoretical? Is the trip down the river a statement of some kind - does it hold a deeper meaning?

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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