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. What is one result for Renee of Arthens' pending death?

2. Who is Manuela?

3. What does Paloma feel Columbe's goal in life is?

4. Who is Neptune?

5. For how long has Paloma's mother been taking anti-anxiety medicines?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Paul Nguyen tell Renee when he comes to her door and what is Renee's response?

2. What do the Renee's clients believe about concierges and how does Renee try to project their image of the average concierge?

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

4. Why does Jean Arthens visit Renee?

5. What does Paloma find interesting about the new tenant as concerns her mother?

6. What causes Renee to reflect on the meaning of life and what is her conclusion?

7. What does Renee think about art in Chapters 10 and 11?

8. What do Renee and Manuela discuss concerning Renee's upcoming dinner date?

9. Why does Paloma's mother take her to a therapist and what fascinates her about him?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Titles often play a vital role in making a person decide to read a particular book. Discuss the following:

1. Fully explain why you think "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is titled as such. Do you think it is the best title for the book? Why or why not? Can you think of a better title? Why would you choose it?

2. How important is a title in influencing you to consider reading a book? Explain your answer.

3. Do you think a title needs to have direct relevance to a book's content? Explain your answer.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 2

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" belongs to the novel genre. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "genre" and give several examples of three other genres in addition to the novel genre.

2. Discuss two reasons why it might be useful to label a text by genre and two reasons it might be disadvantageous to label a text by genre.

3. What do you think is the difference between a novel and a historical novel?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of growth in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with growth? Why? What are some symbols of growth? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of being yourself in this book. Which characters struggle with this issue? Why? Which characters seem to hide themselves? Why?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Consider not just the physical deaths which take place but any changes that may be a type of death.

(see the answer keys)

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