Desert Solitaire Test | Final 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. Abbey's concerns about preserving wilderness in this chapter are connected with

2. Abbey gets sidetracked to Havasu on his way to

3. Floating through the rapids leaves the two boaters

4. Abbey describes the experience of noontime in the desert like

5. The only sign of human life Abbey and Waterman see in the maze is

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why does Abbey refer to himself as a true patriot?

5. Do Abbey and Newcomb enjoy the "rapids" they encounter?

6. Do you think Edward Abbey is a fanatic? Is his fear of a future dictatorial regime unfounded?

7. 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?

8. Why does Edward Abbey seemingly push the limits of safety by living in isolation and putting himself in dangerous situations?

9. Why was Abbey not interested in living with the Supai Havasu Indians?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Abbey practices civil disobedience when he has the opportunity. Write about these instances and describe them, and what they accomplish. Who are Abbey's heroes and mentors and how does he emulate them? Is he simply an angry man? Describe his motives for these acts.

Essay Topic 2

Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire is not simply a story of his stay in the desert, but is a narrative of his experiences and feelings about the land as he learns its peculiarities and the nature of the desert. What, however, is the main thrust of Abbey's message? What does he want us to think about after having read about all of the aspects of the Arches and the surrounding land? Does Abbey's story have an ulterior motive?

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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