The Elegance of the Hedgehog Test | Final 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 is Renee thinking about when someone knocks on her door?

2. How does Kakuro ask Renee to dinner?

3. What does Renee think about as far as at in chapter 11?

4. What does Renee later think she should have done differently in response to the gift?

5. What does Renee think about what Columbe has focused upon in her work?

Short Essay Questions

1. With whom does Paloma have tea and how does she respond to the event?

2. Who wakes Renee at seven and what does Renee tell the person?

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

4. What does Renee do when a package comes for Columbe?

5. What does Paul Nguyen tell Renee when he comes to her door and what is Renee's response?

6. What does Manuela tell Renee about Kakuro's apartment, and what is Renee's response?

7. What do Renee and Manuela discuss concerning Renee's upcoming dinner date?

8. What does Paloma feel and think when she hears her school choir singing?

9. Briefly describe Renee's dinner with Kakuro.

10. How does Renee obtain a dress for her date and what disturbs her about the dress?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

There are a number of interesting questions raised by "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Questions that Barbery most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Barbery's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Barbery's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Barbery and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

Essay Topic 3

Many novels, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why not? Did you feel that the vow Paloma makes at the end of the book is enough to consider it a happy ending in view of Renee's death? Why or why not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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