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

Muriel Barbery
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 138 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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. At what age is Renee forced to leave school?

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

3. What does Paloma decide to do for her next birthday?

4. What can Renee hear just after Chabrot comes to tell Renee that Arthens has died?

5. Who is gossiping about Madame de Broglie?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Manuela and what does she want to do?

2. Describe Renee Michel.

3. Describe Olympe.

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

5. Where does Renee work; how long has she worked there, and what are her clients like?

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

7. Why does Chabrot come to Renee's apartment?

8. What does Paloma think of Maître Arthens?

9. What does Renee remember about Arthens' son?

10. What was Renee's marriage like?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Paloma's journal entries, it soon becomes clear that she feels persecuted by her sister and ignored by her mother, both normal teenager complaints. However, these complaints are compounded by Paloma's incredible intelligence and insight into the world. Paloma feels as if no one truly sees her or understands her, the opposite of what she claims is her reason for wanting to commit suicide, leading the reader to better understand that Paloma is a normal child with normal complaints, a child with similar emotional baggage to that which Renee carries around. These two characters clearly have a great deal in common.

1. Do you think Paloma is persecuted by her sister and ignored by her mother? Why or why not? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. Discuss the dichotomy of Paloma not wanting to be in a "fishbowl" yet wanting people to see or understand her. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. Explain, with examples, why you think Paloma is or is not a fairly normal teenager.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Renee Michel is a highly intelligent woman who has had the misfortune of being born poor. Renee has it in her mind that poor people are not supposed to be intelligent, therefore she hides her intelligence from the people around her, going to great lengths to create an appearance that shows lack of intelligence and imagination as well as a general disinterest in the world around her. To the contrary, Renee is quite intelligent, taking great joy from reading literature and philosophy, as well as watching artistic movies and studying great art. Renee is a complex person who hides her intelligence behind a mask to keep the world from intruding on her carefully created world.

1. Discuss, in depth, the reasons Renee might think being poor excludes intelligence. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. Pretending that Renee is your friend, write a letter to her explaining to her what you see are the problems with the way she hides herself. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss possible reasons that often poor people are seen as less intelligent than others. Include in your discussions factors such as low birth weight, poor diet, lack of access to quality education and social and environmental reasons. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

(see the answer keys)

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