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. Why does the Narrator almost leave the building with Chris?
(a) He sees someone he doesn't want to talk with.
(b) He hears a car go by.
(c) He sees how frightened Chris is.
(d) He is afraid he will see Phaedrus.

2. The mechanics where the Narrator had taken his motorcycle when it was seizing did not fix it properly since they
(a) did not care enough to learn to do it right.
(b) did not have the proper tools.
(c) did not read the manual for that bike.
(d) were dancing and singing along with the radio.

3. The Narrator seems to think that technology is
(a) a necessary evil to be endured.
(b) the incarnation of Buddha.
(c) a manifestation of Buddha.
(d) a function of being human.

4. Riding along the marshes reminds the Narrator of
(a) the opening of duck season.
(b) how cold winters can be.
(c) the loneliness of the two-lane road.
(d) the heat and humidity of the summer.

5. A supersaturated solution will only crystallize when certain conditions are met unless there is a
(a) violent shaking.
(b) sense of Quality.
(c) seed crystal.
(d) foreign object.

Short Answer Questions

1. Phaedrus gave up chasing the ghost of rationality and

2. What did he discover about his spark plugs?

3. A turning point in Phaedrus' life came about the time he saw

4. Phaedrus studied Oriental philosophy at

5. The point at which Phaedrus gave up on Oriental wisdom was when a professor called the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does the Narrator show that Phaedrus is becoming more and more mentally unbalanced (insane)? Trace some of the ideas and words that help us understand that he is losing touch with reality and thinks he is a type of god.

3. What does the Narrator mean by the term "squareness?"

4. 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?

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 the Narrator's train of knowledge. What do the various parts represent? What cannot be represented in a way you can see it in the train analogy?

7. Explain what is meant by "Peace of mind produces right values which produce right thoughts which produce right actions which produce work that is inspiring in its completeness with nature and the human mind."

8. Why did the thought of teaching Quality seem so confusing, yet so appealing, to him?

9. No two motorcycle manufacturers split up the motorcycle parts in the same way. What did the Narrator mean by this? The Narrator talks about the knife they use to split up the parts and then talks about how Phaedrus used the knife creatively, yet analytically. To what do you think the Narrator is alluding to?

10. Chris' Indian friend's grandmother said that ghosts appear when someone has not been buried right. How does that relate to the discussions of the Narrator about Phaedrus? At what times and in what places does Phaedrus appear?

(see the answer keys)

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