The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Chapter One
In a muggy July morning, a father and his son Chris are travelling to meet with friends Sylvia and John in
Montana, but don't have an exact destination. Their preferred method of transportation is by motorcycle,
opposed to a car.
- The man uses time on his motorcycle to reflect. He talks of how day to day shallowness of conversation is
time wasted. “The result is a kind of day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years
later where all the time went and how its all gone.” (pg 7)
-He enjoys the country roads instead of freeways or highways, and describes their rural atmosphere as more
enjoyable. He is cautious of how he is spending time that life brings him. “We want to make good time, but for
us now this is measured with emphasis on “good” rather than “time” and when you make that shift in emphasis
the whole approach changes.” (pg 5)
-Chautauqua: A show or assembly that would travel across America in the 19th and early 20th centuries with
the purpose to entertain and educate an audience, and portray culture and enlightenment. This was replaced later
with movies, television and radio, which the man describes as a change for the worse. (This is also a form of
Cultural Studies Criticism as the book questions the effects that technology has on our culture instead of the
previous ways of transferring information and culture)
-The father compares looking out a car window to watching a TV screen. “You are a passive observer and it is
all moving by you boringly in a fraim. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all.
Your in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.” (pg 4)
-John and Sylvia are frustrated by technology and refuse to adapt to it. They feel alienated by a system of
change and new developments. (Johns refusal to try to fix motorcycle and sylvia's displaced aggression towards
-Man vs Machine conflict....