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. Why does the sign instructing skiers to ski in a clockwise direction irk Edward Abbey?

2. Floating through the rapids leaves the two boaters

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

4. Beyond the timberline Abbey observes

5. Abbey's campsite is

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Abbey say, indirectly, about change?

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

3. Why does Abbey prefer the desert to other environments?

4. Try to explain Abbey's rambling about naming things.

5. Of what is Abbey reminded as he lay naked on top of Tukuhnikivats?

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

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

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

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the chapter entitled The Heat of Noon, Abbey makes a list of the preparations that would be necessary in order to impose a dictatorship on a country. Do a close reading of his list and in an essay, write a response to each of his entries. Was he exaggerating? Is he a radical? Are any of these conditions currently in place? Note where you agree or disagree with his opinions, and why. Where would Abbey fall in today's society politically?

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

Write a researched essay on the current state of the Arches. Has it been mined, drilled, dammed and cemented over, as Abbey dreaded and anticipated? Research, describe and evaluate the changes, and determine whether you feel they have improved the park. Explain your position.

(see the answer keys)

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