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. Why of Paloma punished?

2. What was Arthens' son's problem?

3. With what country is Paloma fascinated?

4. What does Renee reply to Arthens' son's question?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Renee Michel.

2. What does Paloma notice about one of the rugby players?

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

4. How does Madame de Broglie injure her ankle?

5. How does the young man who mentions Marx react to Renee's suggestion, and what is Renee's response?

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

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

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

9. What was Renee's marriage like?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One of the tenants of the building where Renee lives is dying. Renee is surprised by this man's unexpected illness and death, causing her to think about mortality and the meaning of life. Although Renee does not truly like any of her tenants, she admires Arthens because his clear affection for words. Renee also pities Arthens to a small degree because his only son is a drug addict. Paloma also finds herself thinking about mortality and the meaning of life. However, where Renee comes to the conclusion that art makes life worth living, Paloma finds multiple reasons why life is meaningless. Paloma points out numerous inequalities about life and uses them as reasons why she should continue with her plan to commit suicide.

1. Why do you think Arthens illness and dying has caused Renee to think about mortality and the meaning of life? Do you think most people feel this way when they find out someone they know is dying? Why or why not? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. How do you think Arthens having a drug addict for a son is affected by that while he is sick? Do you think having a child who has severe problems might weaken a parent's immune system? Why or why not? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. What are reasons Paloma might find many reasons to demonstrate life is meaningless, what are her reasons and explain why you do or do not agree with her reasoning. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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