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. The only sign of human life Abbey and Waterman see in the maze is

2. Abbey studies the Colorado's tributaries on

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

4. With Waterman, Abbey experiences his first attempt at

5. Abbey's campsite is

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. 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?

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. 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 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?

Essay Topic 2

In his chapter on exploring the "maze," Abbey encourages his friend, Bob Waterman, to hide from the draft board out in this country where no other human resides. Why is it ironic, or not, that this particular interaction takes place in the maze? Do a close reading of this chapter and determine whether Abbey has layered it with additional meaning and symbolism, and provide examples. Is Abbey a true patriot, as he claims?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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