Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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Chris’s Stomachaches Symbol Analysis

Chris’s Stomachaches Symbol Icon
Throughout the motorcycle trip, Chris repeatedly complains of stomachaches. The narrator reveals that these stomachaches have no physiological basis, and that they have been diagnosed as indicators of a predisposition to mental illness. These persistent stomachaches—and Chris’s ignorance of their significance—ominously foreshadow the mental illness that the narrator fears may be in Chris’s future.
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Chris’s Stomachaches Symbol Timeline in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The timeline below shows where the symbol Chris’s Stomachaches appears in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Rationality and Irrationality Theme Icon
...father. The boy refuses his dinner and walks away from the camp complaining of a stomachache. (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality Theme Icon
The narrator reveals to John and Sylvia that Chris suffers frequent stomachaches that rarely have any physiological basis. These pains were diagnosed as precursors of mental illness.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Identity Theme Icon
...a scorching hot day, demoralized by a mosquito-ridden night. Chris complains at breakfast of another stomachache. The narrator decides to devote that day’s Chautauqua to describing Phaedrus’s world, because he doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 31
Identity Theme Icon
Duality Theme Icon
...two stop at a diner, and Chris says he has no appetite because of a stomachache. The two then ride to a cliff, where the narrator explains to Chris that he... (full context)