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. How does the philosophy of progress treat death?
(a) It pretends to make death disappear.
(b) It treats death as one more step in life.
(c) It disregards death entirely.
(d) It minimizes death.

2. Why does a Mexican blend into his surroundings and become solely Appearance?
(a) He fears human interaction.
(b) He fears appearances.
(c) He loves appearance.
(d) He wants to end his individuality.

3. According to Paz, how does death end when a civilization denies it?
(a) By living fully.
(b) It does not end.
(c) Through the denial of life.
(d) By evading death.

4. When Paz first arrived in the United States, what surprised him most about the people?
(a) Their lack of openness.
(b) Their honesty and sense of community.
(c) Their confidence and self-assurance.
(d) Their confidence in the future of the nation.

5. What masculine trait enters into the idea of feminine modesty?
(a) Love.
(b) Strength.
(c) Protection.
(d) Vanity.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does the pachuco present himself to the people around him?

2. In Paz's view, why does the Spaniard still use and enjoy blasphemy?

3. As Paz uderstands it, what is the Mexican's relation to death?

4. What is the difference between the Mexican killer and the modern one?

5. How are the evil words a sign and seal?

Short Essay Questions

1. What group of people did the author have in mind as he wrote the book? How and why did those people become important to him?

2. How is the modern murderer different from a murderer of the past? How has modernity contributed to that difference?

3. What is dissimulation? How does it compare to lying? How does it affect the Mexican's idea of himself?

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

5. "The pachuco has lost his whole inheritance: Language, religion, customs, and beliefs. He is left with only a body and a soul with which to confront the elements" (Chapter One, pg 15). Is that a true statement?

6. How do Mexicans view their bodies? How does their view contribute to their wish for privacy?

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

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

10. How does Mexico's poverty relate to the fiesta? What French interpretation did it inspire?

(see the answer keys)

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