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. Why is death a part of the fiesta (Chapter Three)?
(a) Because exuberant death is honorable.
(b) Because people often get drunk and violent.
(c) Because the Mexican seeks to escape from himself.
(d) Because Mexico celebrates all aspects of life, even the end.

2. Why did the sense of Mexicanism "float" in the air of Los Angeles?
(a) People struggled to retain Mexican identity in a foreign land.
(b) It was an ethereal sense of nationality.
(c) It did not mix with the North American efficiency or precision.
(d) No one truly knew that it meant to be Mexican.

3. According to Paz, why does the liar tell lies to himself?
(a) He is afraid of finding truth in other people.
(b) He does not know the truth.
(c) He is afraid of the world.
(d) He is afraid of himself.

4. Why do Mexicans tell lies (Chapter Two)?
(a) To hide themselves.
(b) To protect the other person.
(c) Merely for the enjoyment of it.
(d) To create confusion.

5. In Paz's thought, what does a study of the great myths reveal?
(a) Man can only be saved by something other than himself.
(b) Man has broken the order of the universe.
(c) Man will never truly be saved.
(d) Man will continually become better than he is now.

Short Answer Questions

1. In their relation to their world, to whom does Paz compare Mexicans?

2. Paz states that a Mexican utters the words that are considered most evil when which of the following occurs?

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

4. How did Paz consider his philosophical questions?

5. Why did Catholicism drastically change the Aztec view of life?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. "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?

(see the answer keys)

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