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 items did Félicité buy for her sister's family?

2. How are the easy chairs in the living room upholstered?

3. What is unusual about the floors in Mme. Aubain's house?

4. What particularly bothered Mme. Aubain about the way that Félicité's family behaved?

5. What new activity do Félicité and Virginie begin at Christmas time?

Short Essay Questions

1. On the way to Trouville, Félicité overhears Liebard talking about the woman that Theodore left her to marry, but she does not hear the end of the story. What, if any, function does this have in the story?

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

3. At the beginning of the story, what does the narrator tell us about Mme. Aubain's history?

4. What do we learn about Félicité's eating habits and what do they tell us about her character?

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

6. Describe the scene with the bull and explain why you think it is important.

7. How does Flaubert choose to describe the procession of Corpus Christi and Félicité's death? What affect does this have?

8. Why does Félicité offer the parrot for the altar in the Corpus Christi celebration?

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 2

There are several instances of classism in this novel, especially between Mme. Aubain and Félicité, but also between others; for example, between M. Bourais and Félicité. Using specific examples from the text, consider the way that the narrator treats these instances and whether or not there is an implicit or overt commentary on the subject. Does the text pass a judgment on classist behavior or is it a straightforward depiction of the existence of classism?

Essay Topic 3

The procession of Corpus Christi recurs in this story and is a critical aspect of the imagery in the final chapter. In what ways does the significance of this particular celebration relate to the important themes in this story? You should definitely consider how it might mirror Félicité's understanding of religion, but you may also consider and discuss any other relationships that strike you. Be sure to refer to specific examples from the text in your analysis.

(see the answer keys)

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