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 say that his 80 year-old grandmother wanted?

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

3. How does Zorba believe a man should treat a woman?

4. What does the narrator's manuscript become for him?

5. What is the narrator's second goal at the end of Chapter 4?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What kinds of responsibilities does Zorba take on at the initiation of his friendship with the narrator.

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

4. What does Zorba represent in the story?

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

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

7. What does Zorba do while in Candia?

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

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

10. What reasons does Zorba give in Chapter 9 for so intensely wanting the narrator to go and sleep with the widow?

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

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

She wanted to be serenaded.

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

Canavaro.

3. How does Zorba believe a man should treat a woman?

He should tell her she's beautiful no matter what.

4. What does the narrator's manuscript become for him?

A war-like attempt to completely remove the prophet from his soul.

5. What is the narrator's second goal at the end of Chapter 4?

He wants to be more grounded in the physical world of men.

Short Essay Answer Key

1. 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.

2. What kinds of responsibilities does Zorba take on at the initiation of his friendship with the narrator.

Zorba agrees to act as foreman of the lignite mine. He also promises to cook the narrator soup and play him music on his santuri.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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