In this article, I reexamine quality and rhetoric in Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance through Julia Kristeva's semiotic chora. To that end, I review three analyses of Pirsig's novel, reinscribe quality as a prediscursive experience of undifferentiated wholeness, argue that regression back into Kristeva's chora is one way to recover this prediscursive experience, and hypothesize that the rhetoric of Zen is an unstable discourse in which prediscursive energies from the chora disrupt and realign the meanings of signifiers. I conclude by generalizing my work beyond Pirsig's novel to three concepts in rhetorical scholarship.
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