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. How are the evil words a sign and seal?

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

3. In Paz's thought, what does a study of the great myths reveal?

4. How do Mexicans perceive an opening-up of one's self?

5. According to Paz, what does it mean when a person is alone?

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

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

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

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

6. When does Paz say that a nation questions itself? Is it necessary?

7. How does North American culture view the pachuco? Does the pachuco accept or reject that culture's perception of him?

8. 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?

9. How does Paz explain the Mexican woman's role in society? How does that strip her of her personality?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Catholicism offered a refuge to the descendants of those who had seen the extermination of their ruling classes, the destruction of their temples and manuscripts, and the suppression of the superior forms of their culture; but for the same reason that it was decadent in Europe, it denied them any chance of expressing their singularity" (Chapter Five, pg 105). What does that mean? How does it fit in with the idea of conquered peoples being assigned a passive role?

Essay Topic 2

When does the author mention the Mexican ripping open his breast to reveal his emotions? What similarities and differences do those stories share? What emotions are encapsulated within them?

Essay Topic 3

What is Mexico's relation to the rest of the world? How is it different from the past? What are Paz's hopes and fears for the future? Do you agree or disagree with his ideas?

(see the answer keys)

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