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. Why does Renee hide her intelligence from others?

3. How does Renee think of Manuela?

4. What is Paloma watching with her father?

5. What do Athena and Neptune attempt to do?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Paloma.

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

3. What does Paloma believe about life and why?

4. What has Renee decided about phenomenology and how does she use Kant to come to this conclusion?

5. What does Renee remember about Arthens' son?

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

7. Describe Olympe.

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Are these universal symbols? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other symbols that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Barbery chooses the symbols he does?

2. Choose two important metaphors and trace and analyze their appearance in the novel. Are these universal metaphors? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other metaphors that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Barbery chooses the metaphors she does?

3. Discuss Barbery's use (or lack ) of literary device (such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, deux ex machina, etc.), and how they add or detract from the story. Does Barbery use too many or too little literary techniques? State which of the five major elements of fiction the literary device is related to (style, character, plot, setting, theme.)

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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