Z: ZORBA THE GREEK

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         Who can forget the music from the film?

Who of us has actually read the book by Nikos Kazantakis, published in 1946?

Who can forget Anthony Quinn playing Zorba, those of us old enough to have seen it? Alan Bates played Basil, the young intellectual who Zorba helps in Basil’s business venture on Crete, a large island off Greece. Who can forget the lessons in the film, that of resilience of an indomitable spirit such as Zorba’s. No matter how many times life knocked him down – ‘the full catastrophe!’ – up he got.

Much of the focus in the novel is on the law and politics in which Kazantakis was deeply interested, himself a philosopher.

In premodern Greek society, women’s status was second class. Patriarchy ruled, iron fisted, and the fact that a widow refused to re-marry incensed the men who wanted her led to her murder, honour bound as they were by their own rules and regulations, to keep shame at bay. *‘Women without husbands were viewed as worthless and shameful by both men and women’.

Basil is a young, very detached intellectual who immerses himself in a Buddha type life style in service to his soul. Not so Zorba, who lives for life, who is involved in the ‘full catastrophe’ of life with all its pain and pleasure, love and food … ALL of life is to be experienced, first hand, all the good and bad bits. He is just himself.

So, these two opposite characters who meet and connect with each other.

The April A-Z blog challenge has also been like that, many of us connecting and learning from each other. It has been an exhilarating journey for me, coming across so many talented writers, who have made me smile, laugh out loud, reflect, and be in awe. I am indebted even for the many distractions which had me reading previous posts or following a link supplied. I am full of admiration for so many, from whom I have learned much. To those who have shared the meaning of words and how to use them to build up characters in writing, I am indebted. Animals stories …There are so many: Barbara, 2 Elizabeth’s, Patricia, Sherrey, Kern, Kristen, Ida, too many to mention … and Damyanti, popping in to give us encouragement to go the long haul.

It has been so gratifying to receive comments on my own blog and I thank you all for taking the time to do so. I learned so much from those comments!

A few quotes from Zorba:

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognise him in all his disguises.”

“Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all … is not to have one.”

* Barbra Dillon, Managing Editor, Fanboy Comics, 28 March 2011.

56 comments on “Z: ZORBA”

  1. I was fortunate enough to see Anthony Quinn in the stage version of Zorba, and he was incredible! This was beautifully written, and I’m glad that you had an amazing April! Sorry that I didn’t get here sooner.

  2. I didn’t know it was a book! Never watched the movie either, but I really want to. Congrats on finishing the challenge. 🙂

  3. Susan, I chuckled, as again you force me to think. I enjoyed your post mentioning the thinking about the varieties of people who have come together during the A – Z Challenge. Plus, I think about my life the way I was brought up to the way I attempt to live now. Recently, I have seen a nutritionist to see if she could help me with some changes. I told her I was a “hybred” as I had been brought up with one style and because my brother was a vegetarian … and due to my health, I had to learn another style of eating.

    So for me versatility in life gives me a way to awaken and see the beauty that surrounds me. To help me grow and learn. You have accomplished this by your thoughtful writing. Thank you.

    • Gwynn, that is a lovely analogy of how we learn one thing in childhood, yet learn other ways of being as we grow older. May we never lose the capacity to widen our experience and see the beauty that surrounds our, in nature, our friendships.
      Thank you Gwynn for always commenting. i have so appreciated this!

  4. A perfect ending and an opening again to the world of Zorba. Full circle and life inclusive of all its surprising and even nefarious elements. Thank you for giving us a peek into your perspectives from A to Z.

  5. My Dear Susan,

    Your Z, Zorba is such a wonderful ending to this Challenge; especially the quotations. I love the one that says God changes his appearance every second, Blessed is the man who can recognise him in all disguises. It is beautiful and so true. God is always changing and that means we as his creation have within us that changeable character also.

    I have enjoyed walking this challenge with you and today I am in the process of finding a way to respond to all of the lovely people who commented on my blog.

    Thank you for your loving ways and your friendship.

    All the best.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

  6. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie. It comes on TV now and then…maybe I’ll have to give it a watch!

    Congratulations on finishing the challenge Susan. It’s been a pleasure reading your posts this month. I’ll check back to see if you keep writing here in the future. 🙂

  7. Ah, Zorba. I loved that film as a youngster. The memory lingers on as do the quotes. The one about recognizing God in every changing moment is memorable.

  8. Darling, I came here to copy a link, because I mention you in my reflections post and my first reaction when I saw the word Zorba was OLÉ – we did it. Thank you for kind mention, I gained a good laugh from you too (and more). You saved the best till last, now I am actually talking about the Zorba quotes 🙂

    • Thank you Ida and so great you are using the quotes! Ole Ole Ole – done and dusted! Except for the A-Z reflections …

        • Yes I read yours Ida; a great reflections posts and thank you for mentioning me! I do NOT know how to do the links … I tried and messed up – and my son who always helps me is away, but hopefully back early next week.

          Happy birthday if indeed it is yours today! May your year ahead be blessed.

  9. I have not seen the movie or read the book but it sounds like the type of story I would like. I liked the quote about the simplest things bringing happiness, it’s so true. Thanks for your support and sharing your wildlife stories with me, South Africa seems like such a fascinating, exotic place. I’ve met so many creative, inspiring people during the challenge. I enjoyed your posts, they have a certain spiritual power that also provided some comfort and peacefulness. They also offered some interesting clues for my never-ending quest for the truth. : )

    • Dan, thank you. What a pleasure meeting you and knowing that you care about the creatures that share the planet with us. Thank you so much for your sharing.

  10. Let’s see, I love old movies, musicals, and Zorba the Greek is part of the cultural backdrop – and I’ve never seen that. In the words of William Wallace’s uncle Argyle, “We shall have to remedy that.”

    What a great closing A to Z post. I’m glad to have met people like you in this Challenge.

    • A remedy shall be sought methinks – let me know if and when you see it and what you think of it?

      Great pleasure meeting you Jer, I’m so pleased!

  11. I have not seen the movie or read the book but now will surely do so. Its been great to meet you via A to Z and thanks for your comments. Good luck!

  12. This post alone was worth the entire price of admission to the A to Z Challenge. I’m honoured to be included in that list, and so, so glad to have found you and your blog.

    You know, it’s been so long since I’ve watched that movie. I’m going to have to settle in for a re-watch very soon. I love that quote “how simple and frugal a thing is happiness…” Just beautiful.

  13. It’s been a pleasure meeting you through this challenge, Susan! I’ve enjoyed your thought-provoking posts and appreciate your comments! Looking forward to following you beyond the finish line!
    Cheers!
    Sam

    • Thanks Sam, I too look forward to further meets beyond the finish line! Neat way of putting it! Beyond …

      I’ve enjoyed yours thank you so much.

    • The quotes are lovely aren’t they.

      Mahalo Courtney for your stopping by – I too will do a catch up over the next few days!

      Well done on you too for finishing!

  14. Cold beverage, popcorn, feet up…and now I know what I will be relaxing to now that this challenge is over. Won’t you join me (in spirit of course). Thank you for your lovely-encouraging comments and for sharing your gift for ‘stringing words’. You continue to teach me through your posts!

  15. Oh thank you for reminding me of such a wonderful movie and the incredible Anthony Quinn. Always studied the Greeks, wonderful people and beautiful islands and glorious history. Mr Quinn was a fantastic ambassador for Greek men:)
    I want to read the book now too.

    #atozchallenge
    maggie at expat brazil

    • Maggie, thanks so much for your comment! Wasn’t Quinn just the best and such a great ambassador. We were on Crete last year September for a week which was wonderful and beyond – my husband wanted to visit the island on which he had spent a few months many years ago after doing his residency; but I have to say that I didn’t connect Zorba and Crete until we had got home, so it has recaptured my interest in hindsight!

  16. Thank you, Susan, for reminding me of this wonderful film. I must have seen it several times over the years and would very much like to watch it again. How could I have forgotten Anthony Quinn?!! I haven’t read the book but it sounds a good read, and I’m adding it to the list. Thank you too for the amazing A-Z posts. I’m sorry I didn’t start blogging until near the end. I’ve enjoyed the ones I did get to read, and feel I’ve learned quite a few new words along the way!

    • Sharon, I’m so pleased that I can access you now! Will pop along to your post in a moment.

      We have certainly learned new words along the way – whew!

      Thank you for commenting on my posts – I really do and have appreciated this.

        • Thanks Sharon – it will be a while, but thank you. I used to post fairly regularly up until the April A-Z on various topics and I must get back into it. I look forward to checking you out too.

  17. I had vague memories of the movie, but your descriptions brought it all back. Anthony Quinn, one of the absolute best actors. The movie remains one of my all time favorites. Strangely, though, I don’t think I read the book. Might have to fix that now.

    Thank you, Susan. It’s been great coming in here, and I look forward to reading many more of your future posts.
    It’s been so much fun … and … we made it!

    • We made it Sylvia! Much fun and I too look forward to future posts from you, thank you.

      I’m thinking of hiring the film – maybe this coming weekend. Would be interesting to see if it holds the same fascination, which I suspect it will.

  18. Have a lovely vacation Melissa! Not to Greece I suppose? 🙂

    Thank you too for sharing the A-Z – it’s been such fun! I so enjoyed all your musings – and still smile when I think of Vodka for V!

  19. I apologise but the music, the book, Zorba is like what they say – all Greek to me!

    I want to thank you for all your lovely comments and pleasant visits on my blog 🙂

    I do hope you continue to write. I’ll be off on vacation next month and will try to fit in one or two musings whenever possible 🙂 Thanks for sharing the A to Z journey & experience with me!

  20. dum dum dum diddle ee um pum – afraid it’s in my head too!

    I also shan’t miss the writing – am brain dead – but will also miss the daily posts!

  21. Didn’t even realise there WAS a book, but I can tell you I now have a soundtrack running through my brain which shouldn’t take more than a week or so to shift. I shall miss this – not having to produce something every day, shan’t miss that at ALL, but having something fun to read every day 🙂

  22. Love this Susan! I remember seeing the movie and I remember my grandparents taking me to see the stage production WITH Anthony Quinn! I was just a kid, but totally loved it while not picking up on the political/philosophical subtext. I will now have to add the book to my “to read” pile!

    Thankyou!

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