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 says she thinks the Narrator looks like he saw a

2. The first part of the formal scientific method is to

3. The professor meant that the bombing of the Japanese cities

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

5. How does the Narrator know a storm is coming?

Short Essay Questions

1. Which question would you prefer to ask your friends: "What's new?" or "What is best?" Which question would you rather have people ask you?

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

3. How are the tasks that the Narrator and Chris perform related to the discourse of this chapter?

4. 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?

5. Why did John and Sylvia get angry with the Narrator?

6. 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?

7. 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.

8. Why is the Narrator apprehensive about seeing DeWeese?

9. What evidence is there that the Sutherlands and the Narrator disagree about technology?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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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