The Elegance of the Hedgehog

by Muriel Barbery

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In the book The Elegance of the Hedgehog, what is the purpose of art?

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Paloma says that:

If I hard more time to live, Art would be my whole life

To her, it is the beauty of art that gives meaning to life and is able to "elevate" life. She says that if she could find something beautiful enough, life might even be worth living after all.

Renee says that in the "sinking into the nothingness of Meaning" in life -- that is when we need art. She, too, believes that the beauty of art can lift one out of the morass of one's miserable existence. With art, one can "reconnect with your spiritual illusions." Art has the power to "rescue you from your biological destiny."

Both of these main characters, one old, one young, are kindred souls who think alike. To them, art is beauty and art elevates life to a higher level. It makes life bearable in the midst of chaos.

We have an overview of the novel here on eNotes.


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