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 makes Paloma feel hope?

2. What surprises Manuela when she and Renee are talking about Renee's upcoming dinner date?

3. Who is Paul Nguyen?

4. About what does Paloma contradict a teacher of hers?

5. What does Renee thinks offers more continuity in a house than conventional doors?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly describe Renee's dinner with Kakuro.

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

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

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

5. Why is Manuela happy about the new tenant?

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

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

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

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

10. What fight does Paloma describe between her mother and another woman?

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

Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Are these universal symbols? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other symbols that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Barbery chooses the symbols he does?

2. Choose two important metaphors and trace and analyze their appearance in the novel. Are these universal metaphors? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other metaphors that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Barbery chooses the metaphors she does?

3. Discuss Barbery's use (or lack ) of literary device (such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, deux ex machina, etc.), and how they add or detract from the story. Does Barbery use too many or too little literary techniques? State which of the five major elements of fiction the literary device is related to (style, character, plot, setting, theme.)

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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