Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the two ride along the coast, Chris continues to repeat “I knew it.” The narrator realizes how his split identity has harmed Chris, and urges himself to come to grips with his past, for Chris’s sake.
The narrator’s newfound empathy for Chris gives him a selfless reason to make an effort to better understand himself.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Duality Theme Icon
The two take their helmets off and the narrator notices that they no longer have to yell to communicate. Chris stands up on the foot pegs and marvels at the view that he can see, instead of just staring into the narrator’s back at all times. He asks whether he can have a motorcycle of his own one day, and the narrator responds that he can, as long as he takes good care of it and has the right attitude.
Now that the narrator has given his son the guidance and support he yearned for, Chris is immediately emancipated. By standing up on the motorcycle and removing his helmet, he actively engages with his surroundings in a way that he was never capable of, or interested in, doing before.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Zen Theme Icon
The narrator tells Chris that he should have no problem approaching his motorcycle with the right attitude. The two ride towards the San Francisco Bay, and the narrator reflects that “there is a feeling now, that was not here before, and is not just on the surface of things, but penetrates all the way through: We’ve won it. It’s going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things.”
The narrator’s belief that Chris will approach motorcycle maintenance with the proper attitude shows how the narrator has placed his son on a path to “peace of mind.”
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Zen Theme Icon