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. In their relation to their world, to whom does Paz compare Mexicans?
(a) Nigerians.
(b) Germans.
(c) Peruvians.
(d) Orientals.

2. According to Paz's argument, what is the source of the North American's irritation with the pachuco?
(a) He does not know how to relate to the pachuco.
(b) He sees the pachuco as an invader.
(c) He sees the pachuco as a threat to North American society.
(d) He sees the pachuco as a mythical figure, and thus dangerous.

3. As Paz begins Chapter Two, he says that the Mexican is always afraid to glance at his neighbor. What reason does he give for that?
(a) The glance could spark rage.
(b) The glance could reveal his isolation.
(c) His neighbor reveals the disillusioned character of Mexico.
(d) His neighbor is a pathetic version of himself.

4. What analogy does Paz use to explain Mexico's history?
(a) A child without a family.
(b) A man searching for his wife.
(c) A child without a future.
(d) A man searching for his parents.

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 is the most valued trait in both the military and political realms?

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

3. In his obsession with hygiene, work, and health, what does the North American miss?

4. When is the fiesta of Grito celebrated?

5. To follow Paz's previous argument, what is the result when one Mexican confides in another?

Short Essay Questions

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

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. How did the Aztecs view sin? How does that idea explain the Conquest? What enormous change did Catholicism introduce?

4. What is the character of the Mexican's solitude? How does it differ from the solitude of the North American?

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

6. What were Paz's impressions of the United States? How does that contrast with the literature being written? In your mind, what accounts for the discrepancy?

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. How important are fiestas in Mexican culture? What relationship exists between the fiesta and the individual?

9. What is the Mexican's ideal of manliness? How does it affect his interactions with other people?

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

(see the answer keys)

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