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

2. Paz discusses the result of persecution on the pachuco. What is that result?

3. In Paz's example of the village near Mitla, how is their yearly income spent?

4. What makes the foreigner skeptical about Mexicans (Chapter Four)?

5. What contributes to the power of the word, chingar, and all of its derivations?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. 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?

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 happens during the fiesta? What is the emotional result?

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

8. "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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Who is the Chingada? What roots does she have in Aztec religion and history? Like her opposite, the Virgin of Guadalupe, is redemption possible?

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

"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?

(see the answer keys)

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