A Simple Heart 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. What are some of Félicité's chores?

2. How many properties does Mme. Aubain still own?

3. What does Virginie do while the family is on their outing?

4. What smell pervades the living room?

5. What does the clock in the living room look like?

Short Essay Questions

1. To what extent would you say that this story is about Félicité? What do you think Flaubert wanted to say by writing a short story about a person like Félicité?

2. Why do you think Félicité never talks about how worried she feels for Victor?

3. Do you think that Félicité's final vision is religious or delusional? Does it matter?

4. Why do you think Mme. Aubain shakes slightly when she sees Félicité respond to the news of her nephew's death?

5. What do you think Félicité means when she says of Victor's death that "'It doesn't matter a bit, not to them it doesn't'"?

6. How does Mme. Aubain respond to Félicité's reunion with her lost sister?

7. What is Félicité's final vision and what might it symbolize?

8. Why do you think Félicité is hurt by people's jokes about Loulou?

9. What is your impression of Mme. Simon?

10. Does it seem surprising that Félicité's voice is shrill? Why do you think this detail is included in her description?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Consider the tone of the narrator in this story. Does the narrative guide your interpretations of events or is it a neutral voice? If you argue that it does, how? If you argue that it doesn't, how does it avoid commentary?

Essay Topic 2

Mme. Aubain frequently functions as a foil for Félicité. Find several examples of this in the text and consider how Flaubert uses Mme. Aubain to draw attention to various aspects of Félicité's character.

Essay Topic 3

Flaubert is a critical figure in the literary movement called Realism, in which authors attempted to tell a story that mimics life as it actually is. To what extent is "A Simple Heart" realistic? Is Félicité a realistic character? In what ways would you answer yes and in what ways no? Do you think that realism is an attainable goal for a piece of literature?

(see the answer keys)

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