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 Zorba treat women for the most part?

2. What painting does Zorba present to Madame Hortense?

3. Why does the narrator say that the sexual organs may get in the way of freedom?

4. With whom do the narrator and Zorba enjoy Christmas Eve dinner?

5. What has historically impacted Crete and the Cretan people more than anything else?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the narrator succeed in doing in Chapter 21 that Zorba could not?

2. 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?

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

4. Describe the monastery bishop's first theory on religion.

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

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

7. Why does Zaharia say he became a monk?

8. What is the irony of Zorba comparing himself to Zeus in Chapter 19?

9. What might be the significance of the narrator inheriting the Santuri?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

The narrator's intuition is a powerful asset which returns to him over and over as a sort of interface between the mind, body, and soul.

Part 1) Describe how the narrator's intuition works when he fabricates a letter from Zorba to Madame Hortense.

• How is he able to come up with Zorba's private terms of endearment?

• Do you think this level of intuition is more an act of the mind, the body, the soul, or some combination of the three?

Part 2) Do you think Zorba or the narrator is the more intuitive man?

• Taking into account their respective histories, what elements might have developed intuition more in one character or the other?

• Is intuition a product of being physically present or might it have developed as compensation for indulgence in a life of books?

Part 3) The narrator also exercises his intuition when he foresees Stavridaki's peril. Look for other instances in which the narrator seems to sense reality.

• How are these different from the way that Zorba considers reality?

• Does the narrator become more or less intuitive as the novel progresses?

• Does Zorba impact this characteristic in him?

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. How does Zorba treat women for the most part?

He is mostly very kind.

2. What painting does Zorba present to Madame Hortense?

A painting of her as a siren leading battleships.

3. Why does the narrator say that the sexual organs may get in the way of freedom?

He says that being promiscuous can keep a man from going to heaven.

4. With whom do the narrator and Zorba enjoy Christmas Eve dinner?

Madame Hortense.

5. What has historically impacted Crete and the Cretan people more than anything else?

Wars.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. What does the narrator succeed in doing in Chapter 21 that Zorba could not?

The narrator recognizes that Madame Hortense is seriously ill and takes care of her both mentally and physically. He mentally encourages her by reminding her of her wedding while physically bringing a doctor to attend to her. He uses Zorba's romantic speech tricks while conscientiously attending to her health as well. Zorba, on the other hand, is a successful romantic but not a responsible partner.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Describe the monastery bishop's first theory on religion.

He believes that the shape of a flower influences its color and its color then has an influence on its properties which in turn produce a specific effect on humans. He summarizes this theory with the belief that men should be careful when walking through fields of flowers because of the peculiar effects the flowers are having on them.

5. 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.

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. Why does Zaharia say he became a monk?

He says poverty led him to become a monk. He was hungry and knew that if he went into the monastery there would be no way he could starve.

8. What is the irony of Zorba comparing himself to Zeus in Chapter 19?

Zorba says that he is like Zeus in that he sacrifices his own self in order to bring women happiness. This is ironic because Zeus is traditionally considered to be lecherous towards women.

9. What might be the significance of the narrator inheriting the Santuri?

The Santuri, Zorba's musical instrument, was one of the symbols in the story of the expression of emotion outside of words. Zorba plays the Santuri in the story when he is happy. The fact that the story ends with the Santuri in the narrator's possession is an indication that he has grown closer to reaching his goal, that of a marriage between the body and spirit, and that he has attained some level of the sought after "freedom."

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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