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 wants his readers to know that the desert is

2. The meaning of Abbey's words, "claritas, integritas, veritas" can be found in this quote:

3. Abbey's reaction to the man's manner of death is one of

4. On the beach for the evening, the most rewarding thing seems to be

5. To make it easier to maneuver the rubber raft, Abbey

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. 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?

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

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Consider the time(s) in history that this book was written. By the time of the last printing of this story, what had happened that had exposed, particularly to Americans, the true nature of the rat race we had created? Would this book have been more important if it had been written during another era? Would it have been given more attention by reviewers and critics if it had been written in this decade? Be sure to read Abbey's Preface to learn about how the book was received.

Essay Topic 3

Could you, and would you, volunteer for a job through the summer in the desert, knowing the harsh conditions? Why do you think Edward Abbey deliberately, and more than once, took the Park Ranger job for the summer, which was clearly an extreme challenge? Is he a little crazy, as he notes? What does the experience provide him with, if anything?

(see the answer keys)

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