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 Renee embarrassed?

2. How does Renee feel before Kakuro?

3. From what book does Renee quote after meeting Kakuro?

4. What does a courier deliver to Renee?

5. Who is Yoko?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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