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 are Zorba's beliefs about the existence of God?
(a) He does not personally believe in God but believes religion is essential to civilization.
(b) He looks to Anagnosti for all of his religious questions and shares his beliefs.
(c) He is a Christian.
(d) He believes in a higher power but not in religion.

2. What incident on the beach mellows the narrator's restlessness?
(a) He sees a shooting star.
(b) He accidentally kills a butterfly.
(c) He hears strange music.
(d) A horse and rider pass by.

3. What makes the narrator want the widow even more?
(a) He reads a love story.
(b) He has a brush with death.
(c) He gets a letter from a family member.
(d) He learns to mine.

4. What is one of the narrator's goals at the end of Chapter 4?
(a) He wants to forget about Buddha.
(b) He wants to learn to meditate.
(c) He wants to grow his hair long.
(d) He wants to improve his vocabulary.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. In Chapter 3, what is the narrator reading when Zorba asks him to come in for lunch?

2. How does Zorba feel about women?

3. When Zorba and the narrator refuse Mavrandoni's offer of hospitality, what does he say about them?

4. What has historically impacted Crete and the Cretan people more than anything else?

5. What reason does Zorba give for having attacked his old boss?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Do you think Zorba's description of dance as a language is accurate? In other words, does the narrator understand what Zorba means by his erratic dancing?

3. How does the narrator's memory of the butterfly impact his feelings about approaching the widow?

4. At the conclusion of Chapter 2, do you think Zorba or the narrator has a more realistic outlook on how to live life?

5. What does Zorba represent in the story?

6. When Zorba encourages the narrator to be more like he is and pursue the widow, how does this contradict Zorba's other advice?

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

8. Describe the first time that the narrator sees the widow.

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

10. When the narrator observes Zorba's ease with problem solving in Chapter 5, what figures come into his mind?

Multiple Choice Answer Key

1. A
2. B
3. B
4. A
5. D

Short Answer Key

1. In Chapter 3, what is the narrator reading when Zorba asks him to come in for lunch?

Dante.

2. How does Zorba feel about women?

He does not take them seriously but enjoys them physically.

3. When Zorba and the narrator refuse Mavrandoni's offer of hospitality, what does he say about them?

He says they are free to choose.

4. What has historically impacted Crete and the Cretan people more than anything else?

Wars.

5. What reason does Zorba give for having attacked his old boss?

He offers no excuse or reason.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. 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.

2. Do you think Zorba's description of dance as a language is accurate? In other words, does the narrator understand what Zorba means by his erratic dancing?

Zorba says that he had so much joy that he had to let it out somehow and dancing was the best way to let the explosion loose. The dancing reminds the narrator of a story he made up about how his grandfather died. He told friends that the old man bounced on rubber shoes until he disappeared into the clouds. This does exhibit some understanding. The narrator associates the dancing with a great release of energy although he cannot clearly name it.

3. How does the narrator's memory of the butterfly impact his feelings about approaching the widow?

The narrator had attempted to help the butterfly emerge from the cocoon by blowing warm air on it. Doing this made the butterfly emerge too quickly and die. The narrator realizes while meditating on this memory, that an individual must "confidently obey the eternal rhythm." He knows, in turn, that he can't speed his relationship with the widow and must let it unfold naturally.

4. At the conclusion of Chapter 2, do you think Zorba or the narrator has a more realistic outlook on how to live life?

I think that they have very different perspectives as distinct as two different languages. Zorba's outlook might be easier on a day-by-day basis as his doesn't require a lot of thinking through of various options and looks directly to instinct and passion. The narrator's perspective might be the more "realistic" however, in that it takes a much broader look at the many elements and their complex arrangements which come together to inform life.

5. What does Zorba represent in the story?

Zorba represents a man who lives for the physical world and ultimately for the individual self in that world. He is an agent of instinct and lacks theoretical reason for his actions. For the narrator, Zorba is a potential symbol of freedom in the narrator's quest to find freedom.

6. When Zorba encourages the narrator to be more like he is and pursue the widow, how does this contradict Zorba's other advice?

Previously, Zorba told a parable about a crow who tries to walk like a pigeon, reinforcing his idea that one must remain true to his true and individual identity. Zorba's disappointment with the narrator when he is unable to be the man of sensuality that Zorba is, contradicts this parable to some extent.

7. 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.

8. Describe the first time that the narrator sees the widow.

The narrator and Zorba duck into a cafe in the middle of a rainstorm, and from here, they see the widow run past the window. The narrator immediately finds her beautiful, although there are a variety of responses to her presence, not all of them positive. Soon after, Mimiko enters and reports that the widow has lost her sheep and offers a reward to anyone who can help return it to her.

9. 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.

10. When the narrator observes Zorba's ease with problem solving in Chapter 5, what figures come into his mind?

The narrator realizes that Zorba's mind is not stressed with education and that his problem solving is a result of his connection with the physical world. He compares Zorba to Alexander the Great cutting through the Gordian knot with his sword. His notes that it is difficult to miss with feet planted firmly and held by the weight of the entire body. This leads him to compare Zorba to the serpent worshiped by Africans. He notes that anything so connected with and touching the earth constantly must be superior in its understanding of the earth's workings.

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