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 explained in Chapter One, who are the pachucos?

2. In Paz's view, why does the Spaniard still use and enjoy blasphemy?

3. When Aztec victims were sacrificed, why did their deaths lack personal meaning?

4. Why do Mexicans tell lies (Chapter Two)?

5. During the fiesta of Grito, why do the people shout for one hour, in Paz's interpretation?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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. "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?

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

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine the organization of the book. How is the material organized? What are the chapter titles? Do the titles prepare you for the material presented?

Essay Topic 2

What personal experiences did Paz pull from to write the book? How did he incorporate them into the broader scope of Mexican history? How did that affect the tone?

Essay Topic 3

Find the deaths that are mentioned in the book. According to the Mexican criterion for a worthy death - the death suits the life - how many of those people died a worthy death? How many of them died a death that did not suit their lives?

(see the answer keys)

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