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. How does Renee see Manuela in Manuela's current station in life?

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

3. What is Manuela always scheming to do?

4. How is Paloma's mother is towards everything else besides the one important thing?

5. What is one of Renee's favorite movies?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Paloma prefer her aunt and uncle over her own parents?

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

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

4. What does Renee receive from Kakuro and what does it bring to her mind?

5. Why is Renee crossing the street and what happens?

6. Who stops to ask Renee something when she and Manuela are talking and what is Renee's feelings about it?

7. Describe Olympe.

8. What way did Paloma consider suicide and what why does she finally settle upon in her mind?

9. How does Renee give herself away as far as her intelligence to the new tenant?

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

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

Many readers of fiction place themselves in the position of one character, wondering if they would do the same thing as that character. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think one of the values of literature is to serve as a reflection of oneself? Why or why not?

2. Socrates said "Know thyself." How can reading a book such as "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" help a reader to know him/herself? Do you find yourself reflecting on your own character and abilities when reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"? Why or why not.

3. Choose one specific incident in this book to discuss and compare one of the characters' response to how you think you would respond.

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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