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. To which of the following does Paz reduce the Mexican character? (Chapter Four, page 73).

2. According to Paz, what is the Mexican's relationship with his fellow man?

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

4. From what does a fiesta free the Mexican, in Paz's understanding?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. "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?

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

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

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

5. 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?

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

7. Who is the Chingada? What relation does she hold to every Mexican, whether male or female?

8. Who represents the conflict that Mexicans have not been able to solve? What effect does that conflict have on their culture?

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What connections exist between love and solitude? What dangers exist within them? How does the Mexican break through the bonds of both? Clearly address and explain Paz's arguments, especially toward the end of the book.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

What dualities did Sor Juana represent (philosophical, religious, gender-based)? What lasting influence did she have?

(see the answer keys)

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