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

2. What is one of the narrator's goals at the end of Chapter 4?

3. Zorba tells the narrator stories about the island. What kind of events does he describe?

4. Who reports that a widow has lost her sheep and is offering a reward for it?

5. What act has Zorba performed that symbolizes the connection between freedom and manliness?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. In Chapter 3, how are the relationships between men and women on Crete exhibited?

5. Describe the painting that Zorba presents to Madame Hortense.

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

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

8. 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?

9. What feelings does Zorba express about religion?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Zorba seems to conclude the thematic strand of the categories of men by retelling stories of war, both his own and others.

Part 1) Describe the way in which Zorba moved from patriotism, a man for his nation, to being a man of self. How might the story of the True Cross have encouraged this shift?

Part 2) Zorba admits to some heinous murders while acting as a man of patriotism. He also acknowledges extreme selfishness as a man who lives for the self.

• Do you think that one of the categorizations represented in the book might be more prone to wrongdoing? Which one and why?

• Might a man of God be just as likely to commit horrible crimes if he believed he was doing it for God?

Part 3) Zorba says he is no longer concerned with a man's nationality, only whether he is "good" or "bad."

• What would qualify as "good" to Zorba?

• Do you agree with Zorba's definition of "good"?

Essay Topic 2

Human management of the desire for material things and other people is a central crux of the characters' experiences.

Part 1) How does Zorba suggest that intense desire be sated?

• How is this similar to the narrator's act of writing the Buddha Manuscript?

• Do you think there is more value in lust for abstract philosophizing than in lust for the material world? Or vice versa?

• Are they equally gluttonous attitudes?

Part 2) Zorba notes that all of the monks strongly desire some material thing.

• How does he encourage them to handle their desires?

• Does he encourage Demetrios and Gavrili to handle their lusts similarly?

• Does Zorba's attempt at getting a deal on the land support his theories on desire and satisfaction or contradict them?

Part 3) How do the men at the monastery symbolize the struggle between Zorba and the narrator? Do the bishop's great theories on religion and the abbot's business ventures make the men more like Zorba or more like the narrator?

Essay Topic 3

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.

Short Answer Key

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

The sexual organs.

2. What is one of the narrator's goals at the end of Chapter 4?

He wants to forget about Buddha.

3. Zorba tells the narrator stories about the island. What kind of events does he describe?

Wars and revolutions.

4. Who reports that a widow has lost her sheep and is offering a reward for it?

Mimiko.

5. What act has Zorba performed that symbolizes the connection between freedom and manliness?

He cut part of his finger off because it got in the way of his pottery.

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 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.

3. 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.

4. In Chapter 3, how are the relationships between men and women on Crete exhibited?

In the beginning of the chapter, the narrator's encounter with the young women in the country exhibits the historical impact of war and violence on the male/female relationship. They are immediately frightened of him as a stranger, and so their encounter is stunted. Mavrandoni's offer to let the men stay in his house to avoid the scandal of staying with a woman also exhibits a level of division and acceptable interaction between men and women.

5. Describe the painting that Zorba presents to Madame Hortense.

The painting has four huge battleships on it in red, gold, gray, and black, each with a flag from one of four countries: England, France, Italy, and Russia. Leading the battleship as a siren was Madame Hortense, naked with a yellow ribbon around her neck and holding four strings attached to the ships.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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. 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.

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