A Masterful Dissection Oct 9, 2007
Octavio Paz's Labyrinth of Solitude is a masterful dissection of the Mexican character. Its title contains one of the central motifs in Jorge Luis Borges' stories, and looks towards the familial and continental isolation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Paz asserts that the mestizo Mexican character is formal, decorous, and self-lacerating, and marked by irreconcilable opposites: the European and the indio, the colonizer and the colonized, the conquistador Cortes and his Indian mistress Dona Malinche. The Mexican feels an intimacy with death, and lives for the explosion of the fiesta. In addition, Paz offers brilliant insights into the Chicano "pachuco and other extremes," North American culture and its abstract "world of machines."