The Botany of Desire Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Michael Pollan
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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 "broken tulip" was eventually found to be caused by ______ which was discovered with the invention of the electron microscope.

2. Johnny Appleseed raised ______ for sale and subsequent transplantation.

3. Johnny Appleseed was known for introducing the apple to the following states except _____.

4. The concept of the apple being a healthy and wholesome fruit was dreamed up to fight the negative image from ______.

5. The book states that the potato plant was stolen from the royal gardens of ______.

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Johnny Appleseed not stay in Brilliant when the people ask him to do so?

2. What happens as a result of having perfect symmetry in a flower, according to Pollan's writing in the book?

3. Why did Pollan plant tulip bulbs when he was a child, according to his own reflections?

4. What is the possible coincidence that Pollan points out between the flowers and their ability to arouse desire in bees?

5. What are the four important classes of domesticated plants which influenced the way in which Pollan chose the plants for the book?

6. What happens when a person plants the seed of an apple tree into the ground? Will the resulting tree produce the same apples?

7. What happens as a result of the different environments in which a flower might be able to grow?

8. Pollan points out there may or may not be a correlation between the beautiful and the good. What does he think there is probably a correlation between?

9. What is the main reason why the apple is presented in a book about the idea of desire? How does the apple relate to desire?

10. What does Pollan have to say about his tendency to speculate and about the connection between flowers and speculation?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When the reader sees that marijuana is one of the plants in the book, they can have a variety of reactions.

Part 1: Why do you think Pollan decided to include marijuana in this book?

Part 2: Do you agree that marijuana should be included in a book about how plants change humans as much as humans change plants?

Part 3: How do you think marijuana has affected humans, in your experience?

Essay Topic 2

While the potato is easy to grow, it became a plant of vital importance as Ireland rebounded from the Potato Famine.

Part 1: Why do you think the potato famine was so devastating to Ireland?

Part 2: Do you think it's wise for any country to rely strictly on one crop for its food supply?

Part 3: How do you think Ireland could have avoided the devastation they encountered during the famine?

Essay Topic 3

This book, "The Botany of Desire," is generally listed as a Nature and Gardening book, though this does not seem to be its only application.

Part 1: Why do you think this book is labeled as being a Nature and Gardening book?

Part 2: Do you agree with the idea that this should be labeled as a Nature and Gardening book? What other labels might apply?

Part 3: How do you think the book's message is perceived by those who are merely reading for the Nature and Gardening aspect?

(see the answer keys)

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