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 Paloma fascinated about concerning the therapist?

2. What is one topic Renee and Kakuro discuss over dinner?

3. How does Kakuro ask Renee to dinner?

4. What do Kakuro and Renee make plans to do?

5. What is going on in the Arthens' former apartment?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why does Paloma prefer her aunt and uncle over her own parents?

4. What does Renee think is wrong with Columbe's thesis and why?

5. What does Kakuro send Renee and what does she do?

6. Why does Paloma's mother take her to a therapist and what fascinates her about him?

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

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

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

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.

Essay Topic 2

Characters are an integral and important part of almost all novels. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Renee and Paloma. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there a flaw in each of their personalities? Be specific and give examples.

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Renee and Kakuro. How do they seem different? Which do you like more? Why? Which one seems more of a well-rounded character?

3. Thoroughly analyze how three of the secondary characters in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" help drive the plot and what their contribution is to the storyline. Are any of the secondary characters unnecessary? Indispensable? Which of the secondary characters are likable? Which are either unlikable or even despicable? Be specific and give examples.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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