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. What did he discover about his spark plugs?
(a) One was broken.
(b) One was quite dirty, but the other was not.
(c) They both looked fine.
(d) They were both quite dirty.

2. The building where Phaedrus taught was
(a) dark brown brick with gables.
(b) granite with arches.
(c) yellow brick with framing timbers.
(d) red brick with pillars.

3. A person consists of a personality,
(a) flesh and blood.
(b) bones and garments.
(c) bones and flesh.
(d) flesh and legal statistics.

4. Riding in a car is different from riding on a motorcycle because
(a) when you are riding in a car you are always in a compartment looking at a frame like seeing the world on TV.
(b) everything goes by so fast it makes you dizzy to look out the window.
(c) riding in a car is like watching a movie you don't care about.
(d) the ride in the car is very smooth while the ride on the motorcycle is very bumpy.

5. Phaedrus gave up chasing the ghost of rationality and
(a) began chasing the ghost of materialism.
(b) went home to live with his parents and decide what to do.
(c) busied himself living a conventional life.
(d) buried himself in his research and writing.

Short Answer Questions

1. A topsy-turvy feeling of inadequacy results when

2. The Narrator ended the trip to Canada on the motorcycle because

3. It was necessary for Phaedrus to have animal courage to

4. Traveling by motorcycle is unique because

5. Who suffered the most from Phaedrus' isolation?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. Goethe's poem captures what may be at stake for the Narrator and Chris on this trip or at this point in their lives. Use the discussion of Chris, the ideas of Phaedrus up to this point, and what is said about the poem to explain how the poem captures what is going on in the Narrator's mind.

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

4. 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)

5. In chapter 13, the Narrator talks about Phaedrus' lecture about the "real university." What is a "real university" or a "real high school?" Start by explaining what a "real university" or a "real high school" is not. What is the primary goal of the "real university" or "real high school?"

6. Based on what you have read through chapter 28, by way of predicting an outcome for the book, write a paragraph or two explaining a dream you think the Narrator will have near the end of the book.

7. How do we know that the Narrator has been on this road, in this town, or at this motel before?

8. The Narrator seems to be descending into an abyss as he relates the details of Phaedrus' descent into a full mental breakdown. Why do you think he quit attending the class with the Chairman and then quit teaching his own classes?

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

10. What does the Narrator mean by referring to Phaedrus' reading of philosophers as the high country of the world of thought?

(see the answer keys)

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