A Handful of Dust Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. Who does Tony invite to the hunt?

2. What does Tony do for the women?

3. Who has tea with Brenda and Polly?

4. Of what does Brenda convince Tony?

5. Who does Brenda visit in London?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are several things revealed about Jenny Abdul Akbar?

2. How is the last part of this chapter a transitional chapter for Brenda and Tony's relationship?

3. What occurs in this chapter to demonstrate how far Brenda has sunken into self deceit?

4. What do you think is a theme that is introduced in this first chapter?

5. What two messages does Tony receive that are disappointing to Tony?

6. How does it seem that Brenda has absolutely no concern for Tony nor for her own reputation?

7. Why do you think Tony is unconcerned with Brenda spending time in London with her old social circle?

8. How does Tony demonstrate his willingness to accommodate Brenda's friends and what is their attitude towards Tony?

9. What does Brenda propose to Tony and why do you think he agrees?

10. What is likely foreshadowed at the beginning of this chapter?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A HANDFUL OF DUST takes its title from a T.S. Eliot poem titled "The Wasteland." Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Discuss the similar themes that are jointly present in "The Wasteland" and A Handful of Dust.

2. Compare and contrast the use of a poem versus a novel to express similar ideas.

3. Discuss why both Eliot and Waugh, who wrote in the same era, would be interested in the same social themes.

Essay Topic 2

Divorce in that era of England is not a simple matter. There are ways one has to "jump through hoops" in order to get a divorce. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss what Tony has to do in order to effect an honorable divorce from Brenda. What do you think of his methods?

2. Compare and contrast the divorce proceedings of the time in the novel with the 21st century America. Which seems to be a better method? Do both ways have their good points? Pitfalls?

3. How does Brenda's greed in the divorce and throughout the story end up causing her to have nothing? Is this just desserts? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Waugh offers an alternate ending in his serialization of A HANDFUL OF DUST in an American magazine. In that ending, Tony returns to England, is reunited with Brenda, moves into her flat and begins a series of affairs himself. Discuss the following:

1. Which ending to the novel do you think is closer to reality? Why?

2. Which ending is a more honorable one for Tony? Why?

3. Do you think Brenda would have welcomed Tony back and then stayed with it despite his affairs? Explain your reasoning using examples from the text.

(see the answer keys)

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