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

2. What seems to extend for nearly 25 miles over Los Angeles?

3. At what time do the three men begin the summit attempt at Matterhorn?

4. What is Ray concerned about as he and Japhy begin to go on a hike together?

5. What does Ray find in the mountain's face and climbs into it?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why doesn't Ray decide to camp in Mexico when he arrives?

2. What does Ray ask Japhy to help him do once Ray receives money?

3. What does the bum tell Ray to do in order to cure arthritis?

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

5. What happens later in the night which upsets Alvah, and rightfully so?

6. What does Ray seem to believe about the ideas of Buddhism and Christianity?

7. What does Ray notice about Los Angeles as he rides the bus to Riverside?

8. Describe the character of Japhy Ryder.

9. How will Japhy and Ray find their way along the mountain trail, according to Japhy?

10. Describe the way Japhy decides to descend the mountain.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The theme of simplicity is another obvious idea that is tested and acknowledged as the story continues.

Part 1: What are Ray's ideas about simplicity? What are Japhy's ideas about simplicity?

Part 2: What are some examples of Ray and Japhy's adherence to simplicity?

Part 3: Why is living simply preferable to living any other way, according to these characters?

Essay Topic 2

The idea of sexuality is one that is explored at different points of the story, but Ray's own feelings about sexuality seem to be conflicted.

Part 1: How does Ray respond to the idea of the yabyum idea? Does his reaction seem to fall in line with its definition or with his own sense of lust and longing?

Part 2: Ray seems to practice celibacy in most of the story, preferring to avoid sexual contact altogether. Is this a moralistic choice of a defense mechanism? Why do you say what you do?

Part 3: What does the story as a whole seem to say about sex? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Spiritual? Abhorrent?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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