The Elegance of the Hedgehog Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Muriel Barbery
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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. How does Renee characterize that dog?

2. What astounds Renee by a note she receives about some dry cleaning?

3. To what dog does Renee liken concierges?

4. What does Renee follow up on to distract the young man?

5. What surprised Renee about her husband?

Short Essay Questions

1. What image does Renee have of concierges, and why was it easier for her to keep up her charade of the unintelligent concierge when her husband was alive?

2. What does Paloma hear at a dinner party and what does it make her think?

3. What does Paloma think is important to her mother and what does she say about her mother?

4. When and why does Renee's formal education end?

5. What is Renee's educational background and who fostered her desire to learn?

6. What does Paloma Josse believe her future will be like and how does she plan to avoid that future?

7. What note does Renee receive and what astounds her about the note?

8. What does Renee say when the son of a tenant in the building says something to Renee about Marx?

9. What filmmaker has Renee recently been introduced to and which film does she like of his and why?

10. What does Paloma decide to do after observing an interesting rugby player?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Thoroughly analyze how the setting informs the plot in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog".

2. Trace and analyze one major theme of this book. How is the theme represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

3. Trace and analyze two secondary themes of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". How are the themes represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

Essay Topic 2

There are a number of interesting questions raised by "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Questions that Barbery most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Barbery's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Barbery's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Barbery and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

Essay Topic 3

Many readers of fiction place themselves in the position of one character, wondering if they would do the same thing as that character. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think one of the values of literature is to serve as a reflection of oneself? Why or why not?

2. Socrates said "Know thyself." How can reading a book such as "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" help a reader to know him/herself? Do you find yourself reflecting on your own character and abilities when reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"? Why or why not.

3. Choose one specific incident in this book to discuss and compare one of the characters' response to how you think you would respond.

(see the answer keys)

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