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. Who is gossiping about Madame de Broglie?

2. Who is Ozu?

3. What does a young man say about Marx to Renee Michel?

4. To what does Paloma want to set fire?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Renee's marriage like?

2. What does Kakuro want when he comes to Renee's apartment, and what is her response?

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

4. 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?

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

6. What does Paloma find interesting about the new tenant as concerns her mother?

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

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

9. What surprises Renee as she enters Kakuro's apartment and what does that make her consider?

10. How does Madame de Broglie injure her ankle?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Characters are an important part of what makes "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Thoroughly discuss and analyze Renee. What are her strengths? Her weaknesses? How does she contribute to the plot? Is she a sympathetic character? Is she ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

2. Thoroughly discuss and analyze Paloma. What are her strengths? Her weaknesses? How does she contribute to the plot? Is she a sympathetic character? Is she ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

3. Thoroughly discuss and analyze the character of Kakuro. What are his strengths? His weaknesses? How does he contribute to the plot? Is he a sympathetic character? Is he ever likable? Never likable? Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Renee is not terribly impressed with most of the tenants, looking down on them because they are so filled with their own beliefs that they cannot see what is right in front of them. For this reason, Renee feels somewhat superior to the wealthy tenants of the building. Renee also tells the reader how she is mainly uneducated, only learning how to read because a teacher took special interest in the affection starved child she once was. This too is how Renee ended up married to her husband, because he saw past the masks and her ugliness to see the woman underneath. Renee feels that although her husband was not her intellectual equal, he was a good man and they had a good marriage.

1. Discuss reasons why Renee has formed her opinion of the tenants in her building. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. Do you think most people do not notice service people around them, such as concierges, store clerks, mail carriers, etc.? Why or why not? How might this affect these people? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. What are the ways in which people could interact with others in order to see past the surface characteristics? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

(see the answer keys)

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