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 wishes that the tourists would get out of their vehicles and

2. What reigns in the desert on this late-spring day is

3. A man is shouting from the shore to Abbey and Newcomb about

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

5. Abbey describes the experience of noontime in the desert like

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

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

4. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

Edward Abbey goes into great detail in his story about Husk and Graham and the search for uranium. Why would he embellish this story so much, given that it was simply a legend in the area and he could not possibly have known such detail? What is the point of drawing the reader along through this story? Is there some hint that he provides that tells us who the real villain is? Do a detailed reading and write about Abbey's literary license in turning this into a detailed tale, and describe what effect he is attempting to create with it. What devices does he use within his story of Husk and Graham for irony?

(see the answer keys)

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