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. In Chapter 11, what does the narrator do when he sees the widow?

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

3. With what does the narrator compare his lustful feelings for the widow to?

4. At the feast at Noussa's house, what does Zorba say happened after he gave the toast?

5. What does the narrator do on his first morning in Crete?

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

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

4. Why is the narrator going to Crete?

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

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

7. How does the fact that Zorba is missing half of his finger relate to his connection between manliness and freedom?

8. What does Zorba represent in the story?

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

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 offers a range of religious thought. At times, he calls himself an atheist. Later, he describes God and the devil to be exactly like himself. Still later, he rewrites Christianity, claiming that Jesus is an heir to Zeus.

Part 1) Describe Zorba's relationship to the religion of the villagers. How does he react to it?

Part 2) Based on dialogue and actions, Is Zorba truly an atheist? Why?

Part 3) How does the irony of Zorba's religious talk instruct the narrator on his path to exorcising his own philosophical thought?

Essay Topic 2

The santuri instrument is an important symbol throughout the novel. It is one of many modes of expression between the two main characters.

Part 1) What does the santuri symbolize in terms of language?

Part 2) What is the significance of the fact that Zorba brags about his talent on the instrument yet will only play it when he's in the mood?

Part 3) Why do you think the santuri is the object left to the narrator when Zorba dies?

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. In Chapter 11, what does the narrator do when he sees the widow?

Nothing. He is unable to approach her.

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

Mimiko.

3. With what does the narrator compare his lustful feelings for the widow to?

The temptation of Buddha by the Evil One.

4. At the feast at Noussa's house, what does Zorba say happened after he gave the toast?

An orgy.

5. What does the narrator do on his first morning in Crete?

He takes a stroll through the countryside.

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. 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.

3. 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.

4. Why is the narrator going to Crete?

The narrator is curious about the adventurous life his friend preached to him. He is going to Crete to experiment with such a life by renting a lignite mine and thus engaging more with the physical world. His overall goal in these actions is to find freedom through a marriage of the mind and body.

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. 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.

7. How does the fact that Zorba is missing half of his finger relate to his connection between manliness and freedom?

Zorba says that he cut part of his finger off because it got in the way of making pottery. He argues that anything that gets in the way of man doing what he wants should be removed. Because it takes a great deal of physical and mental courage to remove a body part, the connection for Zorba is strong.

8. 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.

9. 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.

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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