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

2. What does Renee find refreshing about rumors of Kakuro's apartment?

3. What does Renee do in response to the gift?

4. Who is Marguerite?

5. In what way does Paloma's mother differ from most of the tenants in the building?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Paloma want of Renee when she comes to Renee's door at eight?

4. Why is Manuela happy about the new tenant?

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

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

7. Briefly describe Renee's dinner with Kakuro.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the following:

1. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot and their definition? Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot? Why or why not? What about the various elements of the plot?

3. Identify the major sub-plots and their elements in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". (The subplots may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Muriel Barbery.

2. What in Barbery's background may have helped her in writing "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

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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