The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. During the fiesta of Grito, why do the people shout for one hour, in Paz's interpretation?
(a) So they can be silent the rest of the year.
(b) To express great joy.
(c) So the name of Grito cannot be heard.
(d) To express their rage.

2. How does solitude assume a purifying, almost purgative, quality for the Mexican?
(a) It wipes away his anger toward others.
(b) It is proof of future communion with others.
(c) It serves to mitigate his guilt (a Catholicism concept).
(d) It concentrates the Mexican's attention on the Divine rather than on the human.

3. What is the novelty of the pachuco clothing?
(a) Its disregard for current fashion.
(b) Its impracticality.
(c) Its colors.
(d) Its exaggeration.

4. What contributes to the power of the word, chingar, and all of its derivations?
(a) The fact that its derivations are many and complicated.
(b) The fact that people use the word in religious ceremonies.
(c) The fact that the word is related to words related to death.
(d) The fact that it is prohibited in public places.

5. In the book's argument, what happens when a Mexican woman is passive?
(a) She comes to believe in the societal values given her.
(b) She embodies the ancient elements of earth, motherhood, and virginity.
(c) She can no longer relate to the man.
(d) She functions as a channel of the ancient elements: Earth, motherhood, and virginity.

Short Answer Questions

1. What connotation does the verb, chingar, carry?

2. How does Paz differentiate between views of the body in Mexico and North America?

3. What happens when the Mexican dissimulates?

4. Why does the modern novelist rarely choose the worker as his protagonist?

5. How do Mexicans avoid the dangers of romantic relationships, according to Paz?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the origin of the pachuco? How does that characterization prepare the reader for the rest of the book?

2. In Chapter Three, the following idea is presented: "There is nothing so joyous as a Mexican fiesta, but there is also nothing so sorrowful. Fiesta night is also a night of mourning" (Chapter 3, page 53). What does that mean?

3. What is left of the colonial world? Are those remnants the best or the worst parts that could be left behind?

4. What happens during the fiesta? What is the emotional result?

5. Who is the Virgin of Guadalupe? How is she an important part of Mexican identity?

6. According to Alarcon, why does the liar lie to himself? Given what you know of the Mexican mindset, does that make sense?

7. In the author's parable, who is Nobody? Is it possible for Nobody to break the progression of his existence? Why or why not?

8. Who represents the conflict that Mexicans have not been able to solve? What effect does that conflict have on their culture?

9. What is the world of terrorism like? How is it different from the past world of conquest and war?

10. What is Paz's understanding of woman? How does it fit the Mexican mindset?

(see the answer keys)

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