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 does Paloma think is the only thing important to her mother?

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

3. What does Renee suggest to the young man?

4. What does the author introduce in the Preamble?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What is one of Renee's favorite movie and why?

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

3. About whom do Renee and Manuela gossip when they are having tea?

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

5. What does Paloma think of Maître Arthens?

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

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

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

9. What does Renee remember about Arthens' son?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Many novels, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why not? Did you feel that the vow Paloma makes at the end of the book is enough to consider it a happy ending in view of Renee's death? Why or why not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Oftentimes, a book has more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is? Explain your response.

(see the answer keys)

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