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. Probably as a defense to discourage animals from biting into them, apple seeds contain a small amount of _______.

2. Pollan refers to the _____ as the gothic femme fatale in the masculine world of tulips.

3. Pollan asserts that Jews and Christians discouraged devotion to flowers because it was a threat to _______.

4. The apple does not breed simply from seed. Thus all trees that produce the same type of apples are _______ of the original tree.

5. Almost all apples grown for eating are cultivars, meaning that they are ______.

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the aim of Pollan's book in terms of how it talks about the relationship between Man and Nature?

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

4. What did the Ottoman Turks discover about the wild tulips they found during one of their trips?

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 is the classic example of coevolution that Pollan presents at the start of the book?

7. What does the presence of flowers tend to tell a person about the area in which they are walking or traveling?

8. What are some of the effects of the chemicals within plants which begin the argument that plants might be designed to change humans?

9. How did the tulip bulb end up coming into Holland, even though it was not a native plant in the area?

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

While the Potato Famine was devastating, one could say it helped to shape modern day American society.

Part 1: Why do you think the Potato Famine changed the U.S. society and population?

Part 2: What might have happened if the Potato Famine had never occurred?

Part 3: Do you think the Potato Famine was necessary in order for the United States to become a success?

Essay Topic 2

Genetic variability is thought to be the key to the apple's future, even though it is not widely discussed in social circles.

Part 1: How might you define the idea of genetic variability?

Part 2: Why do you think genetic variability is important to the survival of the apple?

Part 3: Is genetic variability important to the survival of man? If not, why not?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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