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. Which of her lovers' names does Madame Hortense's parrot repeat?

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

3. Why does Zorba tell the narrator not to preach equality of the sexes?

4. Who is the second person to offer the narrator and Zorba lodging in Crete?

5. What pact do the narrator and his best friend make before parting?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 16, what did the sleeping workmen do who when they heard Zorba playing his Santuri?

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

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

4. In his third theory of religion, what does the bishop give as God's reason for sending religion to the masses?

5. What does Zorba represent in the story?

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

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

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

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

10. When writing letters to Madame Hortense, what does the narrator have to do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Zorba has a complex relationship with the female sex. The narrator regards him as misogynistic, but he, at times, seems to afford women more freedoms than the average villager.

Part 1) Under what category of his "marriages" would Zorba's relationship with Madame Hortense fall under? Why?

• How does Zorba treat her differently than the other villagers do?

• Does his treatment of her fall in line with his claim that women have less moral strength than men?

Part 2) Zorba tells a story of his brother threatening to kill his daughter for becoming pregnant out of wedlock upon which he offers no opinion. He also reveals that to his greatest love he was only "half-honestly" married.

• Do you think Zorba is a misogynist?

• How does his behavior with women deviate from traditional values?

• Does this make him less of a misogynist?

• Do any of his behaviors make him more "free"?

Part 3) How does Zorba's description of Zeus, the overworked love slave, contradict his misogyny? Does it support it?

Essay Topic 3

Kazantzakis injects the epistolary into the trajectory of the novel. Some of the characters express more emotion with this mode of communication, while it is simply different for others.

Part 1) The reader gets to know the narrator's soldier friend only by way of the narrator's memories and letters between the men.

• How is their relationship different in letters than it would be in person?

• What other forms of communication do the two men practice?

• Which do you think is the strongest between them?

Part 2) Zorba writes to the narrator from Candia.

• Is his expression altered, impaired, or improved upon by letter writing?

• Do the two characters grow closer through the exchange?

Part 3) Letter writing could be classified under what Zorba calls pen-pushing.

• Do you think the letter writing between the men is a less physical form of interaction than speaking?

• Why or why not?

Short Answer Key

1. Which of her lovers' names does Madame Hortense's parrot repeat?

Canavaro.

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

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

3. Why does Zorba tell the narrator not to preach equality of the sexes?

He says it will disrupt the island's way of life without offering solutions for making it better.

4. Who is the second person to offer the narrator and Zorba lodging in Crete?

The village elder.

5. What pact do the narrator and his best friend make before parting?

They agree to telepathically warn one another of danger.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. In Chapter 16, what did the sleeping workmen do who when they heard Zorba playing his Santuri?

They got up, circled around him and began dancing to the music he played.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. In his third theory of religion, what does the bishop give as God's reason for sending religion to the masses?

He says that God sent religion as an act of mercy for the masses in order that they might experience living in "eternity." The bishop believes that only a few people on earth are able to live an eternity during their natural lives on earth.

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. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. When writing letters to Madame Hortense, what does the narrator have to do?

The narrator must pretend he is Zorba. Therefore, he must take on Zorba's characteristics in his writings while looking for the best in Madame Hortense.

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