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. Who takes charge when the work begins in the mine?

2. What story does Anagnosti tell at the celebration?

3. What does Zorba say that his 80 year-old grandmother wanted?

4. How did Zorba temporarily keep track of his sexual relationships?

5. What or who does the narrator live for?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does the narrator's memory of the butterfly impact his feelings about approaching the widow?

3. What feelings does Zorba express about religion?

4. 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?

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

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

7. What does Zorba do while in Candia?

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

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

10. At the conclusion of Chapter 2, do you think Zorba or the narrator has a more realistic outlook on how to live life?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A constant struggle in the novel exists between what is fated and what is the result of enacted will.

Part 1) How do the narrator and Zorba differ on the topic of fate? Does either one think that fate can be altered?

Part 2) How does his opinion on fate impact the way the narrator handles his relationship with the widow? What is Zorba's opinion on this?

Part 3) Zorba indicates that he believes all men fall into the marriage "trap" eventually. He also speaks of men and women's particular and inborn flaws. Would these opinions be relegations to fate, or would they, by Zorba's law, be things that an active will could prevent?

Essay Topic 2

There are several parallel calamities/destructions that occur in the novel:

1) the lignite mine and the monastery

2) the Buddha and the timber rail

3) the death of Madame Hortense and the death of the widow

Pick one set to compare and contrast both literally and symbolically.

Essay Topic 3

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"?

Short Answer Key

1. Who takes charge when the work begins in the mine?

Zorba.

2. What story does Anagnosti tell at the celebration?

The tale of his birth.

3. What does Zorba say that his 80 year-old grandmother wanted?

She wanted to be serenaded.

4. How did Zorba temporarily keep track of his sexual relationships?

He cut off a lock of each lover's hair.

5. What or who does the narrator live for?

God.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. 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.

2. How does the narrator's memory of the butterfly impact his feelings about approaching the widow?

The narrator had attempted to help the butterfly emerge from the cocoon by blowing warm air on it. Doing this made the butterfly emerge too quickly and die. The narrator realizes while meditating on this memory, that an individual must "confidently obey the eternal rhythm." He knows, in turn, that he can't speed his relationship with the widow and must let it unfold naturally.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. What does Zorba do while in Candia?

He meets a young girl with whom he has an affair. He also spends all of the boss's money.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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