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 believes the Abbey exhibits poor taste?

2. What does Marjorie solicit of Jock?

3. Why is Tony annoyed?

4. About what does Mrs. Beaver brag?

5. Why does John initially decline Brenda's request that he escort her to a party?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are a couple of the reactions to Brenda seeing John Beaver?

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

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

4. What do you think about Jock's behavior towards his friend, Tony?

5. Is it likely that John Beaver at this point is not really interested in pursuing something with Brenda Last?

6. Briefly discuss the setting of Hetton Abbey.

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

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

9. What happens in this chapter that indicates Brenda's lack of devotion as a mother?

10. Do you think John Beaver knows what the upper class people with whom he wants to associate think of him?

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

There are a number of themes in this story, one of which has already been discussed. Discuss one of the following:

1. Choose two major themes (other than that of class) and analyze them and discuss examples of where that theme appears in the text.

2. Compare and contrast two major themes in the novel to those themes found in other texts/movies with which you are familiar.

3. Other than class, which theme do you think is the major theme of the book? Discuss why and give example

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare and contrast Tony Last with John Beaver.

2. Compare and contrast Brenda Last as she really is with whom Tony Last believes she is.

3. Discuss the roles of Jock Grant-Menzies, Mrs. Beaver, Marjorie, Dr. Messinger and Mr. Todd in the lives of the two major characters, Brenda and Tony Last. Is everyone of these secondary characters vital to the novel? Are any of them a foil to one of the major characters?

(see the answer keys)

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