The Dharma Bums Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. What does Morley rent from the trail's lodge house?

2. What does the Buddhist philosophy of sex represent, according to Japhy?

3. Who is the backwoods boy who grew up in a log cabin in the woods?

4. Who wrestles with Ray, leaving large holes in the walls of the house?

5. With whom does Ray live in a ramshackle house near the University?

Short Essay Questions

1. When the waitress asks the men where they will be hiking, what do the men reply?

2. How well prepared does Ray feel at the end of his shopping excursion with Japhy?

3. Describe the house where Ray Smith is staying.

4. What are some of the ways Japhy shows he is generous?

5. What is the realization Ray has when he watches the way Japhy descends the mountain?

6. How do Japhy and Ray find Morley again?

7. How does Ray feel once they have reached a higher point of elevation as they hike up to Matterhorn?

8. What do the bums of San Francisco tell Ray there is great money to be made in doing?

9. Where is Japhy and Ray's campsite for the night?

10. Describe the character of Japhy Ryder.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One might say the sexualized descriptions of the women in this story are an indication of Kerouac's own feelings about women and his own perceptions of women.

Part 1: Describe the female characters who are introduced in this novel.

Part 2: What are the motivations of these women, as one can tell from reading about their actions? What does this say about the author's feelings about women?

Part 3: Which female character is the most important to the story? Why?

Essay Topic 2

The idea that you can't fall off a mountain is a glorious realization for Ray as he is climbing on the mountain with Japhy.

Part 1: Describe the moment when Ray finally understands the idea of not being able to fall off the mountain.

Part 2: What does this realization really mean to Ray?

Part 3: What does Japhy interpret this realization to mean?

Essay Topic 3

While the characters profess to have a strong believe in Buddhism and its tenets, there is still the underlying theme of superiority.

Part 1: In what ways do Ray and Japhy feel they are superior to others?

Part 2: Why doesn't this idea of being better than other become problematic to these two men? Or does it?

Part 3: Does it seem like these men are true followers of Buddhism when they talk about how other people are not living the 'right' way? Can one be Buddha-like when they are critical of others?

(see the answer keys)

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