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. In July, the surrounding mountains are almost

2. The group's reactions after the man is taken away involve

3. As a true patriot, Abbey encourages Waterman to

4. Abbey uses a piece of hollow cane to create a

5. Abbey cancels his plans for

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Abbey gives us two facts in the early part of this chapter that make it clear that this trip was taken in a decade long-past. What is it?

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

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

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

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. Where is the heart of the desert, according to Abbey?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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