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

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

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

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

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

4. When does intimacy sprout among Mexicans?

5. On which group of people were Paz's thoughts focused?

Short Essay Questions

1. Pulling from the ideas of Jose Gaos, Paz, speaks of the physical duality in Mexico. What does that mean? What significance does that idea have?

2. What is the modern view of death? How is it dramatically different from the Aztec view?

3. Mexico has entered a new phase of thinking and history. How does Paz explain that phase?

4. What mutual problem do both the Mexican and the North American face? What is the solution to that problem?

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

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

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

"Man is alone everywhere. But the solitude of the Mexican, under the great stone night of the high plateau that is still inhabited by insatiable gods, is very different from that of the North American, who wanders in an abstract world of machines, fellow citizens and moral precepts" (Chapter One, pg 20). What does that mean? Is it true?

Essay Topic 2

In Paz's arguments, how important is the Mexican sense of place? What affects it? What is its most important aspect? Explain the sense of place in the greater context of the Mexican mindset that Paz presents throughout the book.

Essay Topic 3

In modern Mexico, what are the contrasting ways of thinking (pg 119-20)? In that context, is Spanish heritage good? How do those two mindsets continue to influence current politics and thought?

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