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. Why is Manuela excited about being retained by Kakura?

2. What fascinates Renee about Kakuro?

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

4. What is Renee thinking about when someone knocks on her door?

5. What does Renee find not up to her standards?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does Paloma displease a teacher at her school?

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

4. What does Renee think about art in Chapters 10 and 11?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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