Zorba the Greek Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. Zorba tells the story of an old man who will what?

3. What happens at the celebration in Chapter 5?

4. What does Zorba tell the narrator he should have done before going to bed the night before in chapter 4?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the two goals that the narrator sets for himself at the end of Chapter 4? How is this a shift from the beginning of the story?

2. Describe Zorba's categories of marriage and how many of each he's experienced.

3. When the narrator makes an attempt to get to know some of the mine workers, he begins to discuss socialism with them. Zorba does not like this. What are his reasons?

4. How does the narrator describe Zorba the first time he sees him dancing?

5. What does Zorba's version of God look like?

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

7. What does Zorba do while in Candia?

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

9. What feelings does Zorba express about religion?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A constant struggle in the novel exists between what is fated and what is the result of enacted will.

Part 1) How do the narrator and Zorba differ on the topic of fate? Does either one think that fate can be altered?

Part 2) How does his opinion on fate impact the way the narrator handles his relationship with the widow? What is Zorba's opinion on this?

Part 3) Zorba indicates that he believes all men fall into the marriage "trap" eventually. He also speaks of men and women's particular and inborn flaws. Would these opinions be relegations to fate, or would they, by Zorba's law, be things that an active will could prevent?

Essay Topic 2

After Zorba's return from Candia, the narrator attempts to convince him that the power of a mind concentrated on one thing is the singular path to great accomplishment.

Part 1) How does Zorba respond to this attempted lesson?

• Is the narrator's lesson on meditation received and practiced or do both file it with the "Void"?

• Do you agree with the narrator?

Part 2) How might concentration on a single thing threaten Zorba's way of life and very existence?

Part 3) Zorba has returned from Candia with an appearance altered to look younger. This is a strange juxtaposition to the narrator's focus on meditation.

• Are there parallels in the two men's behaviors?

• Or are the simply at odds with one another?

Essay Topic 3

Zorba describes sex as the essence of paradise and not at all an impediment to gaining "freedom." Simultaneously, he describes man as a servant sent to please women sexually.

Part 1) Is Zorba's description of Zeus, a creature beaten to sexual exhaustion in his service to women, mutually exclusive to his claims of manly freedom or are they indeed one and the same?

Part 2) The narrator uses less aggression when approaching women, yet he's able to use some of Zorba's advice to good result. Do you think the teacher or the student better masters Zorba's twofold theory on sexuality?

Short Answer Key

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

He offers no excuse or reason.

2. Zorba tells the story of an old man who will what?

Never die.

3. What happens at the celebration in Chapter 5?

The castration of pigs.

4. What does Zorba tell the narrator he should have done before going to bed the night before in chapter 4?

He says the narrator should have told Dame Hortense how beautiful she is.

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

Zorba.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. Discuss the two goals that the narrator sets for himself at the end of Chapter 4? How is this a shift from the beginning of the story?

The narrator wants to rid himself of Buddha and the abstract thinking that comes along with Buddha. He also wants to be completely present in the physical world of men. He has wanted to find this physicality since the beginning of the story when his old friend's words inspire him to seek such a life, and begin his journey to Crete. Originally, he was completely invested in philosophizing as well. However, the fact that he wants to exorcise Buddha from his thinking is a definite shift in his character.

2. Describe Zorba's categories of marriage and how many of each he's experienced.

Zorba says he's been married "honestly," "half-honestly," and "dishonestly." He says that he's been married "honestly" or legally only once. He says that he's been "half-honestly" married, or in relationships similar to marriage that were not made formal and legal with a wedding, two times. He says that he's been "dishonestly" married a thousand times, and by this he is referring to every sexual encounter he's ever had.

3. When the narrator makes an attempt to get to know some of the mine workers, he begins to discuss socialism with them. Zorba does not like this. What are his reasons?

Zorba believes that supervising a workforce requires complete authority. He thinks it's better if they believe they have fewer rights and that workers who feel like they are equal to their bosses will eventually take rights away from their bosses.

4. How does the narrator describe Zorba the first time he sees him dancing?

The narrator says Zorba looks like he is wearing rubber shoes. He also says that Zorba's soul looks like it is trying to fling his body like a meteor into the darkness.

5. What does Zorba's version of God look like?

Zorba claims to be an atheist, but he does tell the narrator that God is likely a more outrageous version of himself for whom forgiveness is not difficult, and who does not want to be worshiped.

6. 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.

7. What does Zorba do while in Candia?

He meets a young girl with whom he has an affair. He also spends all of the boss's money.

8. 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.

9. What feelings does Zorba express about religion?

Zorba claims to be an atheist. However, when it comes to the other villagers, Zorba believes that religion is not only important but is the center of their way of life. He warns the narrator that speaking against religion to the villagers is not wise as it is better for them than having no organized structure at all.

10. 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.

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