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. In trying to explain what is wrong with the outdoor barbecue instructions, the Narrator expounds upon what is wrong with technology, which he says is
(a) the fact that they live in topsy-turvy times.
(b) its purposeless expansion laterally.
(c) its inability to explain things to the common man.
(d) its inability to encompass reason and feeling and relationships.

2. The Narrator's tenseness and apprehension about going back to Bozeman are similar to the feelings felt by
(a) a plumber about to unclog a toilet.
(b) an archeologist about to unearth a long-forgotten city.
(c) a geologist discovering a new vein of precious stones.
(d) an archeologist about to open a long-sealed tomb.

3. The method of finding one's way through the hierarchies is by using
(a) intuition.
(b) the system.
(c) the scientific method.
(d) logic.

4. Phaedrus' academic goal in University was to
(a) major in journalism.
(b) major in philosophy.
(c) major in chemistry.
(d) major in molecular biology.

5. Phaedrus' stage fright concerning classroom teaching appeared to students as
(a) passionate teaching.
(b) a reticence to speak.
(c) an electrifying performance.
(d) extreme intensity.

Short Answer Questions

1. Man is a passive observer or a "blank tablet" was first proposed by

2. Unpacking at the campground is difficult due to

3. Chris usually reflects the mood of the Narrator in his

4. Herried is designated a Western town by the Narrator because

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. What aspects of teaching were frustrating for Phaedrus?

2. In what ways is Chris a reflection of, or mirror of, his father? How does his father realize this?

3. Why was Phaedrus repulsed by Yellowstone Park? What do you think is Yellowstone's real-life parallel?

4. 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.

5. What was the Narrator attempting to accomplish when he ferried the backpacks and when he re-packed the backpacks? Do you think he accomplished what he attempted?

6. What hoped-for phenomena resulted from the abolition of grades in his classes?

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

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. What reasons did the Narrator (Phaedrus) have for feeling deep kinship with students who were failing his classes? How was he like them? How was he different from them?

10. The book has an Afterword (chapter 33). In it the author tells how Chris was brutally murdered at age 22 and that the author now has a young daughter. How has she helped to put his life "back in perspective again"? What is that perspective? (refer to chapters 24 and 25 also)

(see the answer keys)

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