Zorba the Greek Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What does Zorba say that his 80 year-old grandmother wanted?
(a) She wanted to travel to Crete.
(b) She wanted to be serenaded.
(c) She wanted a young husband.
(d) She wanted the wars to end.

2. What painting does Zorba present to Madame Hortense?
(a) A portrait of the two of them in front of a castle.
(b) A painting of her as a goddess.
(c) A painting of her as a siren leading battleships.
(d) A portrait of the two of them in a garden.

3. What reason does Zorba give for having attacked his old boss?
(a) He offers no excuse or reason.
(b) He claims the man kissed his girlfriend.
(c) He says the man cheated him.
(d) He says the man tried to assault him first.

4. What happens to Zorba that he believes to be a terrible omen?
(a) He falls in love with a woman.
(b) He loses his job at the mine.
(c) He grows interested in philosophy.
(d) A priest crosses his path.

5. Although the narrator remains unnamed, what does Zorba call the narrator?
(a) Bro.
(b) Captain.
(c) Sir.
(d) Boss.

Short Answer Questions

1. At the feast at Noussa's house, what does Zorba say happened after he gave the toast?

2. Why does the narrator say that the sexual organs may get in the way of freedom?

3. What does the narrator remember his friend teasing him about?

4. What does the narrator remember his grandfather doing?

5. Who does the narrator hire to help him mine lignite on the island?

Short Essay Questions

1. What significance does the fact that Madame Hortense is a widow have toward the theme of manliness?

2. What does Karayannis's letter from Africa remind the narrator that he has always wanted to do?

3. How does Zorba's version of the devil living inside him compare to Zorba himself?

4. Do you think the narrator has actually lost all interest and faith in poetry as he claims in Chapter 12? How so?

5. How does the narrator try to get the widow out of his mind at the beginning of Chapter 10?

6. Describe the narrator's memory of his old friend while on their visit to the museum.

7. Explain the parrot's role in the life of Madame Hortense and her guests.

8. When Zorba tells the story of the old man who will never die, what does this show about his own and the narrator's perspectives on life and death?

9. How does the fact that Zorba is missing half of his finger relate to his connection between manliness and freedom?

10. What reasons does Zorba give in Chapter 9 for so intensely wanting the narrator to go and sleep with the widow?

Multiple Choice Answer Key

1. B
2. C
3. A
4. D
5. D

Short Answer Key

1. At the feast at Noussa's house, what does Zorba say happened after he gave the toast?

An orgy.

2. Why does the narrator say that the sexual organs may get in the way of freedom?

He says that being promiscuous can keep a man from going to heaven.

3. What does the narrator remember his friend teasing him about?

Being a bookworm rather than an adventurer.

4. What does the narrator remember his grandfather doing?

He demanded stories from his guests.

5. Who does the narrator hire to help him mine lignite on the island?

Zorba.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. What significance does the fact that Madame Hortense is a widow have toward the theme of manliness?

Madame Hortense is a character on whom Zorba and the narrator choose instantly to rely upon for shelter. The fact that she is completely devoid of Zorba's "manliness" (as a widowed woman) and has outlived her four great lovers, admirals who could be classified as the most manly of all men, speaks to a contrasting energy of freedom neither articulated by the narrator nor by Zorba.

2. What does Karayannis's letter from Africa remind the narrator that he has always wanted to do?

He has a desire to see and touch as much of the world as he possibly can before he dies.

3. How does Zorba's version of the devil living inside him compare to Zorba himself?

Zorba says that the devil is a mirror image of himself. The only difference is that the devil refuses to grow old. He also wears a red carnation behind his ear.

4. Do you think the narrator has actually lost all interest and faith in poetry as he claims in Chapter 12? How so?

No. When the narrator says of the Buddha, "I must mobilize words and their necromantic power...invoke magic rhythms; lay siege to him, cast a spell over him and drive him out of my entrails! I must throw over him the net of images, catch him and free myself!" he demonstrates a transformation in the way he sees poetry. He sees it less as contemplation and more as a physical act of using language. His use of the craft has changed, but it is untrue that he no longer has use for it as he so claims.

5. How does the narrator try to get the widow out of his mind at the beginning of Chapter 10?

The narrator views the widow as a temptation of the Evil One and focuses on writing his Buddha Manuscript in order to exorcise her image and the lust he feels for her from his mind. To him, his writing is comparable to the force of savages facing beasts with their spears.

6. Describe the narrator's memory of his old friend while on their visit to the museum.

The narrator's old friend told him of his love for a painting by Rembrandt; a painting he says he will owe his greatest accomplishments to. As they are leaving the museum, they see a bird land on a statue of an Amazon and begin singing. The narrator asks what it might mean, and the friend recites a few lines that encourage the narrator not to bother himself with such thoughts.

7. Explain the parrot's role in the life of Madame Hortense and her guests.

Hortense's parrot is a constant reminder of Madame Hortense's greatest love. As a possession, it has been trained to say Canavaro's name repeatedly and therefore to challenge the immediacy of Zorba's manliness.

8. When Zorba tells the story of the old man who will never die, what does this show about his own and the narrator's perspectives on life and death?

Neither the narrator nor Zorba come to a conclusion about how one should live one's life. Zorba clearly lives as though each day is his last, in opposition to the old man in his story. The narrator is uncertain and contemplative about life and death and seems to change his mind slightly as he is influenced by different thinking.

9. How does the fact that Zorba is missing half of his finger relate to his connection between manliness and freedom?

Zorba says that he cut part of his finger off because it got in the way of making pottery. He argues that anything that gets in the way of man doing what he wants should be removed. Because it takes a great deal of physical and mental courage to remove a body part, the connection for Zorba is strong.

10. What reasons does Zorba give in Chapter 9 for so intensely wanting the narrator to go and sleep with the widow?

He says that women need men to sleep with them and protect them; that it is a part of a greater plan. He says she will be ruined if a man does not go and sleep with her. He also says that not taking the opportunity to sleep with her is one sin that God will not forgive.

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