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. How does Kakuro ask Renee to dinner?

2. Who is Yoko?

3. What surprises Renee about Kakuro's last name?

4. Who has Monsieur Ozu fired?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Renee do when a package comes for Columbe?

2. Briefly describe Renee's dinner with Kakuro.

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

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

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

6. What does Renee think of Kakuro's bathroom and what surprises her about it?

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

8. Why is Manuela happy about the new tenant?

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

10. What does Paloma find interesting about the new tenant as concerns her mother?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are a number of interesting questions raised by "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". Questions that Barbery most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Barbery's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Barbery's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Barbery and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

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

Oftentimes, a book has more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is? Explain your response.

(see the answer keys)

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