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. Why does the worker lack mystery?

2. How are the evil words a sign and seal?

3. Other than solitude, what does the Mexican often feel in relation to other peoples?

4. According to Paz, how does death end when a civilization denies it?

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

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

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

4. "Is death the truest kind of life" (Chapter Nine, page 196)? What does that question mean in the context of the chapter?

5. What is the power of Paz's idea that perhaps man can begin to dream with his eyes closed? (Chapter Nine, page 212).

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. According to Alarcon, why does the liar lie to himself? Given what you know of the Mexican mindset, does that make sense?

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

9. What is the character of the Mexican's solitude? How does it differ from the solitude of the North American?

10. The search for place is a search for the center of the universe. How does that tie in with the title of the book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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