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 are the names of Zorba's two "half-honest" lovers?

2. The narrator warn Zorba that such passions may lead to the removal of what body part?

3. About what does Zorba confront the miners?

4. Why does Zorba tell the narrator not to preach equality of the sexes?

5. To whom does the narrator's soldier friend say his greatest actions will be owed credit?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How might Madame Hortense's romantic history challenge Zorba's concept of his own manliness?

3. Describe the first time that the narrator sees 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 is Zorba's account of God's creation of woman?

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

7. Describe the narrator's counter argument to Zorba's connection between manliness and freedom regarding his missing finger?

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 narrator describe Zorba the first time he sees him dancing?

10. Describe Zorba's only account of his heart being broken.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Zorba has a complex relationship with the female sex. The narrator regards him as misogynistic, but he, at times, seems to afford women more freedoms than the average villager.

Part 1) Under what category of his "marriages" would Zorba's relationship with Madame Hortense fall under? Why?

• How does Zorba treat her differently than the other villagers do?

• Does his treatment of her fall in line with his claim that women have less moral strength than men?

Part 2) Zorba tells a story of his brother threatening to kill his daughter for becoming pregnant out of wedlock upon which he offers no opinion. He also reveals that to his greatest love he was only "half-honestly" married.

• Do you think Zorba is a misogynist?

• How does his behavior with women deviate from traditional values?

• Does this make him less of a misogynist?

• Do any of his behaviors make him more "free"?

Part 3) How does Zorba's description of Zeus, the overworked love slave, contradict his misogyny? Does it support it?

Essay Topic 2

Several occurrences dovetail into the final exorcism of the Buddha.

Part 1) The death of Madame Hortense coincides with the narrator's affair with the widow and his completion of the manuscript.

• How might Hortense's death symbolize the death of the Buddha? Was Hortense physically present in life?

• Could her fantasies about past lovers and her role as a siren be categorized as a part of the "Void"?

• What kind of symbolic import does the looting of her belongings have on the theme of the Buddha?

Part 2) Zorba ultimately encourages the narrator to pursue the widow. Describe the outcome of the physical intimacy.

• Do you believe that physical intimacy could free the narrator from his philosophizing?

• Does the narrator adopt Zorba's ideas about physical intimacy? Should he?

Part 3) Do you think the narrator is completely finished with the Buddha when he finishes the manuscript? Provide evidence to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

In the beginning of the story, the narrator is reading a book called The Dialogue of Buddha and the Shepherd, which encourages the virtue of possessing nothing. By the end of the story, he has exorcised the Buddha as an inhabitant of the Void where abstract and unhelpful thinking occurs.

Part 1) How does the appearance of his reading material foreshadow the narrator's experience?

Part 2) Describe the asset that the narrator discovers to be most essential to life. Is this asset truly a possession?

Part 3) Describe Zorba's relationship with possessions. Would he consider his experiences to be his possessions?

Short Answer Key

1. What are the names of Zorba's two "half-honest" lovers?

Sophinka and Noussa.

2. The narrator warn Zorba that such passions may lead to the removal of what body part?

The sexual organs.

3. About what does Zorba confront the miners?

Failing to get their picks before exiting.

4. Why does Zorba tell the narrator not to preach equality of the sexes?

He says it will disrupt the island's way of life without offering solutions for making it better.

5. To whom does the narrator's soldier friend say his greatest actions will be owed credit?

Rembrandt's "Warrior."

Short Essay Answer Key

1. 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.

2. How might Madame Hortense's romantic history challenge Zorba's concept of his own manliness?

Zorba believes in living for the day and that any impediment to freedom and manliness should be removed. Because he thinks sexual relationships are the ultimate in the physical life, he is helpless against the force of her own history. She has been romanced by legendary and powerful men, and Zorba cannot do anything to remove them as competitive forces from his own life. He offers to take on Canavaro's role in her life, but he has no power or awareness of how to actually fulfill that role.

3. 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.

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 is Zorba's account of God's creation of woman?

Zorba says that when God removed the rib from Adam, the devil turned into a snake and snatched the rib and ran off with it. God then chased the devil and caught him, but the devil ultimately got away while God was left holding only his horns. God then made woman out of the devil's horns rather than the rib of Adam.

6. 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.

7. Describe the narrator's counter argument to Zorba's connection between manliness and freedom regarding his missing finger?

The narrator argues that although such passions are admirable, they could also possibly lead to the desire to remove more crucial body parts. He suggests that Zorba might eventually want to remove his sexual organs, which would have a much more life-altering and drastic result.

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 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.

10. Describe Zorba's only account of his heart being broken.

Zorba met a woman named Noussa ten days after leaving the village of his previous lover. Noussa invited him to her house for a feast at which Zorba gave a toast. After this, the lights went out and a massive orgy began. He lost Noussa in the midst of the orgy but found her the next day, and they remained together for 6 months. She then eloped with a soldier and broke Zorba's heart.

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