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 often mentions tamarisks. A tamarisk is a

2. Abbey decides to climb Tukuhnikivats

3. Abbey suggests to Waterman that, perhaps, like a German poet, we humans

4. Abbey and Newcomb are in denial about the

5. In late summer the quietness, or somnolence of the desert leaves Abbey feeling

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. What are a few good words that would describe Abbey's impression of the desert at this time of year, and at noon? Is there any other place, time, state of mind or being, to which this same set of words also applies?

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

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. What influences Abbey's final decision to abandon his quest for Moon-Eye?

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

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

8. Why do you think Abbey wants to own Moon-Eye?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Edward Abbey is a reporter and narrator, explaining what he sees, hears, feels and experiences. However, he does not necessarily let the reader into his heart and soul regarding his personal life. He chooses this reclusive job, and makes journeys into wilderness areas where there are no people. Is Abbey a recluse by nature? Why does he seem to prefer this solitude? Are there hints in the story about his personal life? If so, describe and interpret them.

Essay Topic 2

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 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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