Class in “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”


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Essay #: 072832
Total text length is 9,253 characters (approximately 6.4 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Equality in Death: Class in "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"
The issue of class permeates Muriel Barbery’s novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Set amongst the residents of “a fine hôtel particulier with a courtyard and private gardens, divided into eight luxury apartments,” the two narrators are from opposite ends of the class system (Barbery 15). Renée Michel, the building’s concierge, and Paloma Josse, the 12-year-old daughter of a member of parliament, are both excluded from the power structure of French society. The novel offers a somewhat subtle critique of the class system as it is viewed through the eyes of these two narrators. Both see class distinctions, and quietly undermine the expectations of them.
Class systems are constantly...
The end:
...... The invitation of the tenant is not enough to reconstruct her understanding that they are of different classes, and that those different classes do not interact in a friendly way.
Throughout the novel, the characters are bound to a class system, whether they are aware of it or not. In the end, it is those who are most acutely aware of the class division that seem to feel its presence most. While Renée and Paloma both identify themselves as being above the class structure, their behaviors and experiences of the other characters, especially Ozu, demonstrate that they are innately tied to the classes of which they are a part.
Works cited
Barbery, Muriel. The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Trans. Alison Anderson. London: Gallic Books, 2008. Print.