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 Renee follow up on to distract the young man?

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

3. What is one result for Renee of Arthens' pending death?

4. What do Athena and Neptune attempt to do?

5. What does Renee think will cause the young man to forget she said anything about Marx?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Olympe.

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

3. What does Renee say when the son of a tenant in the building says something to Renee about Marx?

4. What does Paloma believe about life and why?

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

6. 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?

7. How does Madame de Broglie injure her ankle?

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

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

10. Describe Renee Michel.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Thoroughly analyze how the setting informs the plot in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog".

2. Trace and analyze one major theme of this book. How is the theme represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

3. Trace and analyze two secondary themes of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". How are the themes represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Renee Michel is a highly intelligent woman who has had the misfortune of being born poor. Renee has it in her mind that poor people are not supposed to be intelligent, therefore she hides her intelligence from the people around her, going to great lengths to create an appearance that shows lack of intelligence and imagination as well as a general disinterest in the world around her. To the contrary, Renee is quite intelligent, taking great joy from reading literature and philosophy, as well as watching artistic movies and studying great art. Renee is a complex person who hides her intelligence behind a mask to keep the world from intruding on her carefully created world.

1. Discuss, in depth, the reasons Renee might think being poor excludes intelligence. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. Pretending that Renee is your friend, write a letter to her explaining to her what you see are the problems with the way she hides herself. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss possible reasons that often poor people are seen as less intelligent than others. Include in your discussions factors such as low birth weight, poor diet, lack of access to quality education and social and environmental reasons. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

(see the answer keys)

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