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 admits that he, too, is a member of

2. The cabin Abbey slept in appears to be

3. On his trip to capture Moon-Eye, Abbey ate his lunch in the shade of

4. Unlike Thoreau, Abbey's intention is to

5. Fred Burkett's favorite hiding place to watch for speeders was

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

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

5. What is the difference between Abbey's heat waves and a mirage?

6. 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?

7. 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?

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

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

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

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

In the chapter entitled The Heat of Noon, Abbey makes a list of the preparations that would be necessary in order to impose a dictatorship on a country. Do a close reading of his list and in an essay, write a response to each of his entries. Was he exaggerating? Is he a radical? Are any of these conditions currently in place? Note where you agree or disagree with his opinions, and why. Where would Abbey fall in today's society politically?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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