Study Guide: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig by SuperSummarySuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 59-page guide for “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 32 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Classic vs. Romantic and Duality.
Study Guide: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (SuperSummary)
Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Life Imitates Art. Bob and Gennie DeWeese, mentioned in the book as friends of Phaedrus and the narrator from Bozeman, are real historical figures. The DeWeeses have received many visits from diehard Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance fans, eager to make a pilgrimage to a site mentioned in the book. Anchors Away. His wanderlust has taken him on many extensive sailing trips as well.
The novel, published in , uses a long motorcycle trip to frame a prolonged exploration of the world of ideas, about life and how best to live it. It references perspectives from Western and Eastern Civilizations as it explores the central question of the how to pursue technology so that human life is enriched rather than degraded. Narrated in the first person, it incorporates a parallel presentation of trip details and an ongoing retrospective concerning dramatic events from the Narrator's past, creating rich symbolism and including numerous analogies reinforcing the overall theme of coming to terms with the mysteries of why we exist and how best to live. Initially, the Narrator and his son, Chris, ride on one cycle, and a couple, the Sutherlands, ride on another. The Narrator represents someone who is relatively comfortable with technology, and the Sutherlands represent people who feel oppressed by it, but who, at the same time, are dependent on it; conflicted. They travel together northwest to Bozeman, Montana; an important location related to the Narrator's college teaching career and dramatic past. At that point, the Sutherlands return home, and the narrator and his son continue on alone after undertaking a hiking expedition in the mountains outside Bozeman.