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 book states that almost all cultures around the world love flowers with the notable exception of _______.

2. _______ or 'white lightning' preceded hard cider as the alcohol containing drink of choice on the frontier.

3. The book states that the presence of flowers is a reliable predictor of future _____ and therefore was important to humans in the past.

4. The Greeks believed that true beauty was the offspring of form and ecstasy personified in ______ and Apollo.

5. The domestic apple is thought to have derived from a species that originally came from the country ______.

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Chapman not want to have anything to do with the grafting of apple trees in order to breed certain strains?

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

3. How does Pollan describe the particular patch of garden versus the plants one finds in nature?

4. What does Pollan find to be mythical about the story of Johnny Appleseed, although it is a true story?

5. Who is John Chapman and what is his importance in the course of the history of the apply?

6. Why might it be possible to say that the plants are more evolved than humans are at this point in time?

7. What is the origin of the domesticated apple, although this is certainly a point which is up for contention?

8. Why does Pollan says that he thinks tulips really were flowers which were designed for children?

9. 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?

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

Pollan tries to assign gender qualities to flowers, as some are seen as feminine and others as masculine.

Part 1: Why do you think it is important to assign gender qualities to flowers?

Part 2: What is the purpose of assigning certain flowers to certain gender labels?

Part 3: Do you agree with the assignment of genders to flowers? What do you think this does to the discussion of flowers?

(see the answer keys)

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