Desert Solitaire Themes Essay

1083 words - 5 pages

Living in Solitude
“Desert Solitaire”
Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire is a book about a man who takes a job as a ranger in Arches Nation Park in Mohab, Utah. He lives alone in a house trailer in the park and it is his job to watch over the reservation. As I read the book it became apparent to me that Abbey is a loner. He tends to remove himself or distance himself from situations which involve other humans. He does however associate rarely with other human though Abbey prefers solitude.
From the very start of the book you get the impression that Abbey prefers to live alone in solitude. He talks about he was required to live by himself and work by himself away from all civilization. ...view middle of the document...

”(20) He “would rather kill a man than a snake.” He is almost more in tune with the animals then he is with civilization.
As an experiment Abbey decides to take a stone, throw it at a rabbits head, and see if he could kill prey if he needed to. He succeeds in this and when he thinks about it, he feels no remorse at all for killing the rabbit. If he had to he could kill one and that was what mattered to him. After killing the rabbit he felt more connected to the environment around him than civilization and it pleased him. He was now “kindred” with all the animals rather than with just humans. (41-42)
As the Book continues Abbey learns of a horse called Moon Eye. He was once an abused horse that had a disease that formed a glare over his one eye earning him his name. So the horse was said to have run off and lived by itself in the desert. Once Abbey learned of this he badgered Mackie as to why an animal that tends to like to run in packs or herds would live out in the desert all by itself (174-175). Mackie’s response was that he did not know and the only thing he did know was the horse was not normal. I thoroughly believe that abbey badgered Mackey so much about the horse because he envied the horse. He envied that the horse could run off and survive by itself and nobody bothered Moon Eye.
Abbey even went so far as to track down the moon eyed horse. He talked to the horse and asked if missed its old life. Abbey tried to catch the horse and bring it back to civilization. Where the buzzards, coyotes, flies, and maggots would not get the best of it. The horse would not be captured though (179-187). I believe this horse symbolizes Abbey’s view of solitude. The world and civilization may hold a more comforting look on life however it is a cruel world. You are cut off from the natural...

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