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 studies the Colorado's tributaries on

2. The heat of the desert makes objects appear

3. Abbey's concerns about preserving wilderness in this chapter are connected with

4. Abbey feels the only real paradise is

5. Abbey cancels his plans for

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 an essay on your close reading of the section of the book where Abbey describes the noonday sun as if it were a drug-induced experience. Try to explain and expand on the description he has given, and consider why he describes it the way he does. Do you feel he was suffering from heat stroke? Do you think being alone might have caught up with him? Do you think he is afraid for his survival in this moment of extreme heat? What is the reality of this section, in your opinion?

(see the answer keys)

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