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

2. What analogy does Paz use to explain Mexico's history?

3. Above all other definitions, who is the Chingada?

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

5. What is Paz's opinion about Western respect for life?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the Mexican view of death? When does death become saddest?

2. 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?

3. 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?

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

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

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

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

9. 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?

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

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 2

What are the gender roles explained throughout the book? Given the culture and the time, what are the gender expectations? Who acts against those expectations?

Essay Topic 3

What is the Mexican view of privacy? Why does Paz defend it at such cost? What part does lying play in his defense? Is that accepted?

(see the answer keys)

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