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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 172

"The Labyrinth of Solitude" by Octavio Paz is a collection of nine essays and as a result, it does not have characters in the traditional sense. The book is filled with contemplation that involves historical and existential questions about the Mexican people. Notable figures throughout the essays are the author, young Mexican Americans, North Americans, and all of humankind.

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Octavio Paz labels young Mexican Americans as "pachucos." He claims they form gangs and identify themselves not by what they are, but rather by what they are not. This form of defiance is problematic and leaves the pachucos isolated.

Paz describes North Americans as restricted. He outlines how North Americans are limited by old religious, political, and moral tenants. They may be more content than other groups, but that happiness is artificial.

The titular solitude is the struggle to overcome isolation and make meaningful connections with other people as well as the larger world. Octavio Paz states that solitude impacts more than just the pachucos, in fact, it applies to all of humankind.

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