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. A Chautauqua is

2. The group crossed the Missouri River at

3. The course sections Phaedrus most often taught included

4. In chapter 11, the Narrator and Chris seem

5. The Narrator says that some cultures believe in ghosts in the same way that other cultures

Short Essay Questions

1. What is a priori knowledge and how are time and space examples of a priori knowledge?

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

3. Explain one of his more radical teaching techniques.

4. 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?

5. The Narrator says that the ghost Phaedrus pursued appeared incoherent and meaningless, causing the most normal of everyday acts to seem slightly mad. What everyday assumptions and purposes caused this?

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

7. 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)

8. How does the Narrator know that Phaedrus existed?

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

If you have read either 1984 or Brave New World, explain how that book fits with what the Narrator is saying about a world without Quality, a world of "squareness."

Essay Topic 2

What does the bottom of the ocean symbolize? Do you think the Narrator and Chris meet there? What do they find out about themselves and each other as they attempt to meet? What is the result?

Essay Topic 3

Do you think Phaedrus was a good father? Do you think the Narrator at the beginning of the book was a good father? Do you think the Narrator at the end of the book was a good father? Back your answers with examples to prove your points.

(see the answer keys)

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