Desert Solitaire


Cliffrose and Bayonets

 On page 32

Abbey discusses the way that the natural balance between predators and prey within the desert has been thrown off kilter. “Having nearly exterminated their natural enemies, the wildlife experts made it possible for the porcupines to multiply so fast that so for that they – the porcupines- have taken to gnawing the bark from pinyon pines in order to survive.”

Before this point in the book, Abbey was showing a feeling of disassociation from the desert as something he was in but yet was not apart of him. Was it that living within the environment that lead him to lay claim to the desert or did he need to be in the dessert in order to fully know its importance?

  • In the book he showed his knowledge of the local flora and fauna; did this knowledge help him in loving the dessert?
  • Do people that do not possess the same amount of knowledge can appreciate the dessert in the same way?

 Page 36

Abbey gives the feeling that the environment should be void mostly of people. Despite the departure from human feeling within the desert, Abbey eventually personifies the nature around him.

 “…I round a corner of the cliff and there’s a doe and her fawn not ten yards away…she and the fawn at her side, Madonna and child..”

“…the doe springs up and way …’come back here’ I shout. ‘I want to talk to you’”

As he is expressing human characteristics on these animals, Abbey further on the page states that nothing man-made can be trusted for the deer, and because of this they will jut run away.

  • Is Abbey showing that he can see humanity in the desert?
  • Can we as humans see nature without a human screen? Can we look at animals without impressing within our minds that can not have some sort of human “thought”?

Industrial Tourism and the National Parks

Page 55

            With in this chapter Abbey criticizes the mechanical forms of tourism that he is seeing within the parks. He believes that the parks should move to non-motorized form of tourism using horses and bikes.

  • Without seeing the National Parks can people really appreciate them?
  •  Would people see the parks if there were not places to park and look?
  • Would appreciation for the parks decrease because people were not seeing them?
  •  Do people really care for things that they have not seen?

Cowboys and Indians Part II

Page 110

            On this page Abbey speaks about how he is now taken up sleeping outside. He has made himself a roofed structure. He has now become a part of the nature that surrounds him. He is not longer contained to the mechanical trailer that is a from of mechanical tourism.

  •  What made the change in Abbey?
  •  Is he now losing his “Human” belongings and truing back to nature?

 The Moon-Eyed Horse

Page 159

             In this chapter Abbey reconfirms his use of personification on the world around him. He talks to the horse as if it was a human, and tries to take it home. By doing this Abbey is showing, perhaps subconsciously, that life with a human is better then living alone.

  •  Is Abbey being hypocritical?
  •  Is the horse just like him, wanting to be away from humans?
  •  Is this showing that there is a part of us, as humans, that we will always need some sort of companion? (Like with the snake?)

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