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 decide to do for her next birthday?

2. What is Paloma watching with her father?

3. Which of Tolstoy's books does Renee love in particular?

4. To what does Paloma feel that her family's wealth subject her?

5. What does Renee remember about Arthens' son?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What was Renee's marriage like?

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

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

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

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

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

9. What note does Renee receive and what astounds her about the note?

10. How does Madame de Broglie injure her ankle?

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. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot and their definition? Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot? Why or why not? What about the various elements of the plot?

3. Identify the major sub-plots and their elements in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". (The subplots may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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