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. What does Zorba do when he hears his boss talking to the workmen?

2. Who does the narrator hire to help him mine lignite on the island?

3. What are the names of Zorba's two "half-honest" lovers?

4. What exclamation does the first chapter conclude with?

5. To whom does the narrator's soldier friend say his greatest actions will be owed credit?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the narrator try to get the widow out of his mind at the beginning of Chapter 10?

2. How does the narrator reveal that he is like his grandfather?

3. What story does Zorba tell in Chapter 20 that supports the theme that appearance creates reality?

4. Describe the incident that prompted the monastery icon's name to be changed from Our Lady of Mercy to Our Lady of Revenge.

5. Describe the first time that the narrator sees the widow.

6. Why do you think the narrator's good friend, the soldier, is not named until his death?

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

8. How does the narrator describe eternity in Chapter 15?

9. What evidence of artistic inspiration does the narrator find in the ruins of the old city? How does he feel when he sees it?

10. Describe the narrator's memory of his old friend while on their visit to the museum.

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

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 3

Zorba's relationship with Madame Hortense challenges everything he believes about women and relationships.

Part 1) How is Madame Hortense similar to Zorba's generalization of all women? How is she different?

Part 2) Zorba waffles between insisting that men are in service to women and that women are inferior to men.

• In what way does Madame Hortense situate him strictly as a service person?

• How does Zorba respond to this?

Part 3) Do you think Madame Hortense is settling for Zorba?

• Is Zorba settling for her?

• Why does he agree to marry her?

Short Answer Key

1. What does Zorba do when he hears his boss talking to the workmen?

He throws his boss out of the mine.

2. Who does the narrator hire to help him mine lignite on the island?

Zorba.

3. What are the names of Zorba's two "half-honest" lovers?

Sophinka and Noussa.

4. What exclamation does the first chapter conclude with?

"God and the Devil!"

5. To whom does the narrator's soldier friend say his greatest actions will be owed credit?

Rembrandt's "Warrior."

Short Essay Answer Key

1. How does the narrator try to get the widow out of his mind at the beginning of Chapter 10?

The narrator views the widow as a temptation of the Evil One and focuses on writing his Buddha Manuscript in order to exorcise her image and the lust he feels for her from his mind. To him, his writing is comparable to the force of savages facing beasts with their spears.

2. How does the narrator reveal that he is like his grandfather?

He remembers his grandfather demanding that guests tell him their personal stories of adventure so that he could experience the thrill through their stories. This is similar to the narrator in that the adventures for both occur removed from the action and inside the head and ideas of the two.

3. What story does Zorba tell in Chapter 20 that supports the theme that appearance creates reality?

Zorba tells a story in which his grandfather takes a piece of wood, calls it part of the True Cross, and declares that it will protect the soldier to whom he gifts it from all harm in battle. The soldier then becomes a brave and invincible warrior simply because he believes that he has nothing to fear.

4. Describe the incident that prompted the monastery icon's name to be changed from Our Lady of Mercy to Our Lady of Revenge.

In ancient times Algerians raided and set fire to the monastery. When they passed by the statue, it is said that she came to life, leaped down, and began stabbing the warriors with her spear until she had killed them all.

5. Describe the first time that the narrator sees the widow.

The narrator and Zorba duck into a cafe in the middle of a rainstorm, and from here, they see the widow run past the window. The narrator immediately finds her beautiful, although there are a variety of responses to her presence, not all of them positive. Soon after, Mimiko enters and reports that the widow has lost her sheep and offers a reward to anyone who can help return it to her.

6. Why do you think the narrator's good friend, the soldier, is not named until his death?

It may be to emphasize the theme of the importance of human interaction and companionship. Just as the narrator is gaining the realization that human connection is essential, his friend dies and his friend's name is revealed. His friend has also fulfilled his passion, which was to serve his country. His name is then symbolically mythologized when it appears in the story.

7. 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.

8. How does the narrator describe eternity in Chapter 15?

He describes it as being each minute that passes.

9. What evidence of artistic inspiration does the narrator find in the ruins of the old city? How does he feel when he sees it?

The narrator finds a partially finished jar carved from stone and a chisel on the ground nearby. This fills him with bitterness as he realizes the artistic inspiration has been defeated.

10. Describe the narrator's memory of his old friend while on their visit to the museum.

The narrator's old friend told him of his love for a painting by Rembrandt; a painting he says he will owe his greatest accomplishments to. As they are leaving the museum, they see a bird land on a statue of an Amazon and begin singing. The narrator asks what it might mean, and the friend recites a few lines that encourage the narrator not to bother himself with such thoughts.

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