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. How does Lola refer to Zorba?

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

3. What or who does the narrator live for?

4. How does Zorba treat women for the most part?

5. What does the narrator request of Zorba when he remains in Candia for longer than expected?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What does Zorba represent in the story?

6. 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?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Kazantzakis seems to use destruction, as opposed to creation, as a central theme which moves both main characters away from their original states and toward something new.

Part 1) What things, ideas, and people are destroyed in the novel? Which of these seem most symbolic to you?

Part 2) What two major destructions, which also happen to be the two great "works" of the narrator and Zorba, occur almost simultaneously near the end of the book?

• Are these parallel losses?

• Is one greater than the other?

• How do these two losses make the two characters more similar to one another?

• How do they make them more different?

Part 3) Do the human deaths in the story seem to add or take away from the overall circumstances of the two main characters? Why?

Essay Topic 3

Dualism is an important part of Zorba the Greek. Wherever one theory or way of being is presented, a counter theory exists.

Part 1) When the villagers kill the widow, how are they subverting Zorba's definition of women?

• Which of the two ways of thinking is more accurate?

• How might these extremes support the author's overall intention?

Part 2) How do Zorba and Hortense view their relationship to one another?

• Does Hortense's view of her own past match the way Zorba recounts her history?

• Does Zorba see himself as the partner to her that she sees in him?

• How do their opposing views ultimately affect their relationship?

• Why is she so fixated on marrying Zorba?

Part 3) Do you think that the Buddha has been completed or destroyed for the narrator at the end of the story?

Short Answer Key

1. How does Lola refer to Zorba?

Grandad.

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

The sexual organs.

3. What or who does the narrator live for?

God.

4. How does Zorba treat women for the most part?

He is mostly very kind.

5. What does the narrator request of Zorba when he remains in Candia for longer than expected?

He requests that he return immediately.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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