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

Robert M. Pirsig
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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. It was necessary for Phaedrus to have animal courage to

2. Einstein said:

3. Who are the four people riding motorcycles on a journey?

4. Phaedrus corresponded with the Northwest Regional Accrediting Association

5. The plans of Chris and the Narrator are deliberately indefinite so that

Short Essay Questions

1. 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)

2. Give an example of each type of logic.

3. How do the DeWeeses respond to seeing the Narrator again? What are their actions and reactions? What are their emotions and thoughts?

4. 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?

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

6. Which gumption trap is most often a problem for you and how to you overcome it?

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

8. What is symbolized by the riding without helmets and what is symbolized by Chris' standing on the pegs to ride the motorcycle?

9. What is the difference between "What's new?" and "What is best?" What type of answer might you get to each question? Which question would you prefer to ask your friends? Which question would you rather have people ask you?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Plato often used names for his characters that suggested the nature of their personalities. When the author chose the name "Phaedrus," he thought it meant wolf. When the Narrator is describing Phaedrus' contemplations, he describes a meeting with a timber wolf (chapter 7). How does the reader come to the conclusion that Phaedrus and wolf have some commonalities? "Phaedrus" actually means brilliant while "lykos" means wolf in Greek. Explain how both wolf and brilliant apply to Phaedrus / the Narrator.

Essay Topic 2

At what point in the book did you realize that Phaedrus and the Narrator are the same person? What clues are given? At what point do the two actually merge into one and the same person in the book? Give reasons for your answer.

Essay Topic 3

What is egotism? In what ways can egotism blind a person to quality? How can egotism get in the way of a person's spiritual journey to understand himself? How was egotism the beginning of all of Phaerus' troubles?

(see the answer keys)

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