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 did Arthens' son once ask Renee?

2. What does Renee love about the world?

3. Where does Paloma hear a statement she thinks is totally wrong?

4. What does the author introduce in the Preamble?

5. Why does Paloma begin to drink something different in the morning?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

4. Why does Jean Arthens visit Renee?

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

6. What does Paloma think of Maître Arthens?

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

8. What does Renee think as she lay dying?

9. What does Paloma believe after hearing Renee's story?

10. What does Kakuro send Renee and what does she do?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Muriel Barbery.

2. What in Barbery's background may have helped her in writing "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

Essay Topic 2

Characters are an integral and important part of almost all novels. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Renee and Paloma. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there a flaw in each of their personalities? Be specific and give examples.

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Renee and Kakuro. How do they seem different? Which do you like more? Why? Which one seems more of a well-rounded character?

3. Thoroughly analyze how three of the secondary characters in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" help drive the plot and what their contribution is to the storyline. Are any of the secondary characters unnecessary? Indispensable? Which of the secondary characters are likable? Which are either unlikable or even despicable? Be specific and give examples.

Essay Topic 3

"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?

(see the answer keys)

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