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. The heat of the desert makes objects appear

2. On the second day of their journey, Abbey is

3. When Abbey gets a call to help with a search, he assumes

4. The desert winds of May have

5. The difference between the desert and other geographic areas is its

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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