Below is the list of questions that could potentially appear on the Wilderness exam. The test will have two portions: one section in which you identify the author of a passage and one section in which you write fully-developed paragraph responses to four of these questions. For the paragraph portion, plan to write detailed, specific arguments that demonstrate knowledge of the text and our class discussions. During your answers, you will need to make reference to at least seven sources. One of your sources can be Into the Wild.

The Period 4 Test is on Friday. Period 7 test is on Wednesday, during the final period. The Period 2 test will be during the final period on Tuesday. These are not the questions for that test.

Potential Paragraph Responses

  1. Contrast the attitudes of John Muir and Aldo Leopold when it comes to the human response to nature. How does each see our role?
  2. A number of the environmental pieces refer to an instinctual connection/attraction to nature. Using at least two examples, discuss the ways in which our authors suggest that we connect to nature on an instinctual level.
  3. Why does Rachel Carson believe that the American definition of progress is threatening our future and what we should do to respond?
  4. Using at least three sources, make an argument for what should be done to the national parks.
  5. Chief Seattle asked, “what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?” and Emerson argues that the solitude of nature is essential for the soul. Using these and at least one more source, discuss the argument that nature is necessary for a healthy soul.
  6. Explain Aldo Leopold’s idea of the Land Ethic and apply it to a contemporary environmental dispute.
  7. How does Henry David Thoreau use his examination of nature to explain human behavior?
  8. Time appears as a central concept in many of the pieces we read. Using at least three sources, discuss how environmental writers argue humans should adjust their perception of human time and the natural world.
  9. Using at least three authors, one of whom should be Wallace Stegner, explain how some authors believe that humans only tend to appreciate certain parts of aspects of nature.
  10. John Krakauer writers, “Unlike Muir and Thoreau, McCandless went into the wilderness not primarily to ponder nature of the world at large but, rather, to explore the inner country of his own soul.” Explain what you believe Krakauer meant and defend, refute, or qualify this claim.
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