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. Sylvia is frightened by

2. Riding along the marshes reminds the Narrator of

3. Unpacking at the campground is difficult due to

4. The ghost that Phaedrus pursued was

5. What does the Narrator think he should be doing if he were a novelist instead of a Chautauqua orator?

Short Essay Questions

1. What aspects of teaching were frustrating for Phaedrus?

2. 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?

3. 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?

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

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

7. What are the important points of skill in each part in the scientific methods process?

8. 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.

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

10. How does the Narrator know that Phaedrus existed?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

At the beginning of the book, the Narrator does not seem to understand or connect with Chris on any level. He finds Chris' questions irritating and his behavior frustrating and often refuses to try to communicate. Trace the Narrator's relationship with Chris through the book. Give examples of his attitude at various points. At what point in the book do we see that he is becoming more open to Chris? What does he think or say to make us feel that he wants to reach out to Chris?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

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