The Elegance of the Hedgehog Test | Final Test - Hard

Muriel Barbery
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who is Yoko?

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

3. What does Manuela say about Renee's looks when Renee dons her borrowed dress?

4. What fascinates Renee about Kakuro?

5. Who are Levin and Kitty?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

In Paloma's journal entries, it soon becomes clear that she feels persecuted by her sister and ignored by her mother, both normal teenager complaints. However, these complaints are compounded by Paloma's incredible intelligence and insight into the world. Paloma feels as if no one truly sees her or understands her, the opposite of what she claims is her reason for wanting to commit suicide, leading the reader to better understand that Paloma is a normal child with normal complaints, a child with similar emotional baggage to that which Renee carries around. These two characters clearly have a great deal in common.

1. Do you think Paloma is persecuted by her sister and ignored by her mother? Why or why not? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

2. Discuss the dichotomy of Paloma not wanting to be in a "fishbowl" yet wanting people to see or understand her. Use examples from the book and your own life to support your reasoning.

3. Explain, with examples, why you think Paloma is or is not a fairly normal teenager.

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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