Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

Robert M. Pirsig
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Academic freedom was threatened by all EXCEPT
(a) Professors were banned from speaking freely on campus.
(b) More stringent rules about acceptance to the college were enacted.
(c) There was a rule against failing students in classes.
(d) Accusations of stirring up trouble were leveled at professors.

2. Why did Chris and the Narrator get soaked on their trip to Canada?
(a) The Narrator forgot to pack a tent.
(b) The rain was the result of a warm front.
(c) The Narrator forgot to dig a trench around their tent.
(d) The storm came from the northeast.

3. Phaedrus was despondent about his inability to
(a) teach what he believed.
(b) teach about quality.
(c) help his students really learn.
(d) excite his students.

4. Chris usually reflects the mood of the Narrator in his
(a) concern and worry.
(b) mood and actions.
(c) moodiness and depression.
(d) reactions to others.

5. Who are the four people riding motorcycles on a journey?
(a) Chris, his father the Narrator, John Sutherland, his wife Sylvia Sutherland
(b) John Sutherland, his son Chris, the Narrator, his wife Sylvia
(c) John, Sylvia, Chris, Buddha
(d) The Narrator, Chris Sutherland, John Sutherland, Sylvia

Short Answer Questions

1. The Narrator approaches maintaining his motorcycle like

2. Phaedrus discovered that the science he'd once thought of as the whole world of knowledge is

3. What did he discover about his spark plugs?

4. John puts on his long underwear and plays

5. The Narrator makes four observations about his lists of motorcycle parts. Which of the following is NOT one of those observations?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the Narrator's personality theory of motorcycles? (How does a motorcycle acquire a unique personality? What makes up a motorcycle's personality?)

2. What were the possible reasons John did not want the Narrator to use a beer can to shim his motorcycle handlebars?

3. How are the tasks that the Narrator and Chris perform related to the discourse of this chapter?

4. The breakthrough of blue sky allows the Narrator and Chris to see the top of the ridge they are climbing. At the same time, the Narrator seems to reach a breakthrough in his Chautauqua. What did Phaedrus realize about Quality that was such a breakthrough?

5. The Narrator talks about the set of boxes which define the components of a motorcycle. If you start at the top with "motorcycle" and work to the next level, you have "components" and "functions;" at the next level "components" are divided into "power assembly" and "running assembly." Where else do we find such hierarchies? Give examples of this pyramidal structure of hierarchical organization charts in business, science, and government. Can you think of others?

6. Explain one of his more radical teaching techniques.

7. In Chapter 1, the Narrator says that sometimes when truth knocks on the door you tell it to go away because you are looking for truth. He also introduces the idea of the Chautauqua, saying he will be concerned more with the question of "What is best?" than the question of "What's new?" How are those ideas related to one another?

8. Sentence fragments are exchanged between the Narrator and the young woman who comes into the classroom. What do we learn about rumors concerning Phaedrus (the Narrator) that circulated in the English department? What do you think is the young woman's role at the university at this time?

9. The Narrator says: "If you want to build a factory, or fix a motorcycle, or set a nation right without getting stuck, then classical, structured, dualistic subject-object knowledge, although necessary, isn't enough." What does he mean?

10. Summarize how Poincaré's ideas fit closely to Phaedrus' ideas--like two sides of a jigsaw puzzle.

(see the answer keys)

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