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Zorba Log: Part Three (chapters 14-20)

Philosophical & Spiritual Attitudes


 Greek idea of hiding from death (175)
 every idea with influence has existence (220)
 very few individuals can achieve "eternity" (220)
 Zaharia believes he is being told to destroy monastery full of Sodoms and Gemorrahs
(226-227)
 "Everything good in this world is an invention of the Devil" (230)

This section of Kazantzakis's Zorba the Greek shows the reader a lot about Greek beliefs, and
the importance of the Orthodox Christian religion in Greece and Crete. First comes the
mention of individuals trying to avoid death. When the man commits suicide, those who feel
close to death (such as Bouboulina) hide themselves, so that death won't take them as well.
Much of this section takes place at the monastery or in the city of ruins. This allows the
readers to see the opinions of members of the religious community, and also shows the
problems that existed within the church but often went unnoticed. For example, Zaharia
believes that the monks in the monastery are all a bunch of "Sodoms and Gomorrahs" (pp
227). In addition to these contrasts, the reader can see that the members of the church thought
very highly of their theories and opinions, and that many people listened to them, such as
when the bishop explains his theory on man to Boss (pp 220).

Boss
 beginning to protect women the way Zorba does (169-170, 210,
 questions what he's doing with his life (185)
 comparing his goodness to that of others (185, 197
 enjoys return to religion and religious life (187-188)
 dislikes "eternity" (189)
 always finds one word or idea to obsess over (190)
 focus and concentration lead to great accomplishments (198-199)
 thinks it's wrong to take advantage of monks (215-216)
 sees Christ in a dream (218)
 feels God while leaving monastery (226)
 Is going to be Zorba's best man (236)
 Envious of Zorba's life experiences (245)

In this section of Zorba the Greek, Boss continues to change as an individual. He is becoming
more like Zorba in many of his attitudes, but is also beginning to question both his previous
ideas and the actions and opinions of Zorba. His bond with Zorba has grown stronger, which
is demonstrated in his appointment as Zorba's best man in his wedding to Bouboulina. The
reader can also see that his attitude towards women continues to reflect that of Zorba, one of
trying to protect them, but that it isn't fully successful, as he is inexperienced with women
and often misjudges the situations, such as when he tells Bouboulina that Zorba will marry
her, even though this is not what Zorba wants. As the section progresses and Boss is reunited
with Zorba, the reader begins to see him disagreeing with Zorba, and voicing these
disagreements. When Zorba wants to trick the monks into charging them less, Boss tells him
that he doesn't like it, for "why should the Holy Virgin be responsible for [Zorba's]
excesses?" (pp 215). Boss also begins to question himself in this section. When a man
chastises him for asking what the man's favourite food is, Boss becomes "silent, ashamed"
because his "heart had never been able to reach that height of nobility and compassion" (pp
185). This comparison demonstrates that Boss is not completely assured in himself, and that
he is still learning as life goes on.

Zorba
 cleans himself up to see Boss (191)
 Doesn't want to be forced into marrying Bouboulina (192)
 believes that women are human, but are worse than men (193)
 monasteries are a "lot of nonsense" (199-201)
 food feeds the soul, helping it to forget (200-201)
 can't imagine life without women (203)
 Zaharia is very much like Zorba (204-205)
 obsesses over something, then never revisits it (212
 thinks all monks are indulging in sodomy (212)
 mocks bishop's theories (221)
 wants to protect Bouboulina, so lies to her about marriage (228
 Compares himself to Zeus "I'm the only one to know what he suffered" (235)
 The faith behind an object is what makes it important (239)
 Thinks Boss lacks imagination, uses only his brain (240)
 Fought for his country (240-242)
 Having separate countries is what leads to wars and conflicts (245)

In this section of Zorba the Greek, the reader is able to see Zorba's high opinion of himself,
and the conviction that he puts behind every one of his opinions. Like in the previous section,
Zorba compares himself to a god, this time to Zeus, saying that he is "the only one to know
what [Zeus] suffered" (pp 235). He dismisses and mocks the theories of the bishop at the
monastery. These show that the opinion that he has of himself is a very high one, and that he
believes himself to be superior to many others. He also believes very strongly in whatever he
says. He believes that women are less than men and need protection, and the fact that he goes
through with an engagement to Bouboulina despite his own wishes demonstrates this. For all
of his faults, Zorba presents many interesting ideologies; in this section, he claims that it is
the separation of nations that leads to wars and conflict (pp 245), and that "the idea's
everything" (pp 239) when it comes to the importance or power of a single item, such as a
religious relic. This section continues to develop Zorba's character, helping him to fill the role
of self-assured philosopher.

Setting
 March
- A time for rebirth, for new life, for change
- Bouboulina remembers her prior happiness and love affairs during the month of
March (pp 171)

 Ruined city
- Boss feels that it is filled with spirits
- The destruction of something people had obviously put effort into forces Boss to
question why people work so hard at something if it isn't eternal (pp 181)

Themes
 Women referred to as animals (pp 178)
- demonstrates the lack of respect that men held for women
- shows that men saw women as less than human, as something that could belong to
them

 appearance and changing it to change attitudes (191, 194)


- Zorba dyes his hair to appear younger for Lola, then finds that he feels and acts
younger as a result (pp 194)
- Zorba cleans himself to be presentable to see Boss for the first time in weeks, as a
means of appeasing Boss after such a long absence (191)

 Different characterizations of men and women


- Men are like the day, a time for working and appearances
- Women are like the night, something to be enjoyed and to pass the time in fun ways
(pp 196)

 Women's desires
- No matter what they may say, women want to be treated well, be married, have
children, live the traditional, acceptable life (pp 233)

 A full day is a good day (238)


- A day in which much happens, things are accomplished, is the best kind of day
(according to Zorba)
Literary Features
 Metaphor of the cranes
"I raised my eyes and saw a marvellous spectacle ...: cranes deploying across the sky
... returning from wintering in a warmer country." (pp 183)

In this extended metaphor, the cranes that Boss sees flying overhead are a physical
symbol of the changing seasons. The cranes leave for the winter, and then come back every
single spring. Their migration habits are constant and never change. This constancy
represents the fact that life doesn't change, that humans are restricted to certain movements
and ideas, which reflects the feelings of Boss at this point of the novel,

 Imagery of women's breasts


"In the middle of the chapel dome, freshly whitewashed, small and round like a
woman's breast" (pp 187)
"You do not let me live for more than one minute, but that minute turns into a breast
and I suck" (pp 189)
"The trees'll swell, and so will young girls' breasts - they'll be bursting out of their
bodices!" (pp 230)

Kazantzakis uses the imagery of women’s breasts at many points throughout this
section. The imagery is used in many different situations, including describing the
appearance of beautiful things, such as “the middle of the chapel dome” (pp 187). At other
times the imagery is of the characters interacting with the breasts in some metaphoric way, as
when Boss is speaking of being Earth’s “last-born, […] sucking at [Earth’s] breast” (pp 189).
All of these instances of the imagery of women’s breasts contribute to the theme of
objectifying women and treating them as less human than men, themes which are
predominant throughout Zorba the Greek.