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. The Moab Valley in the distance lies between

2. Edward Abbey's description of a thunderstorm in the desert is

3. Viviano's English is about fifty percent

4. Abbey wonders if a man could get used to

5. Besides money, a reason for developing the parks is

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why was Turnbow Cabin built?

4. The trip down the Colorado for Abbey and Newcomb is blissful and idyllic. What, if any, is the dark side of this story?

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

6. If Abbey is somewhat indifferent to the death of a fellow human being, why would that be true?

7. What is the difference between Abbey's heat waves and a mirage?

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

9. How does Abbey feel about leaving the desert and returning to the city?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Write an essay on your close reading of the section of the book where Abbey describes the noonday sun as if it were a drug-induced experience. Try to explain and expand on the description he has given, and consider why he describes it the way he does. Do you feel he was suffering from heat stroke? Do you think being alone might have caught up with him? Do you think he is afraid for his survival in this moment of extreme heat? What is the reality of this section, in your opinion?

(see the answer keys)

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