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. The Narrator approaches maintaining his motorcycle like

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

3. Above the timberline, the travelers see

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

5. John is interested in

Short Essay Questions

1. All through chapter 18, Chris pushes himself to keep climbing and to do it at a fairly good rate even though this was his very first mountain climb or even hike into mountains. What was motivating him and why?

2. What is the Narrator's personality theory of motorcycles? (How does a motorcycle acquire a unique personality? What makes up a motorcycle's personality?)

3. Summarize how Poincaré's ideas fit closely to Phaedrus' ideas--like two sides of a jigsaw puzzle.

4. Chris' Indian friend's grandmother said that ghosts appear when someone has not been buried right. How does that relate to the discussions of the Narrator about Phaedrus? At what times and in what places does Phaedrus appear?

5. 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.

6. The breakthrough of blue sky allows the Narrator and Chris to see the top of the ridge they are climbing. At the same time, the Narrator seems to reach a breakthrough in his Chautauqua. What did Phaedrus realize about Quality that was such a breakthrough?

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

8. In what ways was Phaedrus changed by his studies in India? How did his background in science help or hinder him in learning to think like the Orientals?

9. A society which kills multitudes in wars, pollutes the land and oceans, and destroys the dignity of individuals is said to be a higher society than one that hunts and gathers. How can that be rationally explained?

10. 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.

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

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.

Essay Topic 3

What was the Greek's equivalent to Phaedrus' Quality? How is it explained or described?

(see the answer keys)

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