Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This chapter describes in greater detail the narrator’s recurring nightmare involving the glass door. The narrator addresses the “figure in the shadows” that stands between the narrator and the glass door, on the other side of which stands Chris. The narrator becomes less afraid of the shadowy figure and realizes that it is cowering from him. The narrator lunges to grasp the figure and reveal his face, only to be woken up by Chris before he can do so.
The narrator’s assertive action within his nightmare shows that he has made progress in confronting the specters of his past. However, the dream’s unfulfilling conclusion shows that his mission is not yet complete.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Duality Theme Icon
Chris, alarmed, wakes the narrator, and tells him he had been yelling in his sleep about killing someone. The narrator explains to his son that his threats weren’t aimed at Chris. The narrator realizes that Phaedrus is actually the one dreaming, and that this signifies Phaedrus’s reawakening. The narrator himself is the hateful figure in the shadows. Resigned to this, the narrator resolves to prepare for Phaedrus’s inevitable return, and pities his son’s situation.
The narrator’s identity struggles are coming to a head, and he doubts his own ability to deal with them safely and sanely.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Duality Theme Icon