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. What reason does Brenda give Tony for bringing along her friends?

2. What excuse does Brenda use to miss the annual event?

3. What does Brenda say she is going to do to give her an excuse to be in London?

4. In spite of what is John at home when Brenda comes to meet with his mother?

5. Who seems to be the only person concerned about Brenda's affair with John Beaver?

Short Essay Questions

1. What demonstrates the possibility that Brenda is already planning a divorce?

2. What can you infer about the Beaver household from the information in Chapter 1?

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

4. Why is Beaver annoyed at Polly's party, but why does he put up with his annoyance?

5. How are the rooms of Hetton symbolic?

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

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

8. What do you think of John Beaver's attempts to remain connected to the upper class by angling for invitations to various events.

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

10. How would you characterize John Beaver's idea of a relationship with a woman (including Brenda)?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Some readers and/or critics might say that A HANDFUL OF DUST contains some elements of a dark comedy. Discuss the following giving specific examples:

1. Define dark comedy and give some examples of works of dark comedy in literature and/or film.

2. Discuss several scenes from A HANDFUL OF DUST that might contain elements of a dark comedy.

3. Why do you think Waugh incorporates elements of dark comedy into this work?

Essay Topic 2

Tony is an aristocrat who is still immersed in the Victorian era. His wife, Brenda is the embodiment of the more modern times and beliefs. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss characteristics of the Victorian era and where those appear in the novel.

2. Discuss the characteristics of the post-Victorian and where those appear in the novel.

3. Compare and contrast the Victorian era with the post-Victorian era of the first several decades of the 20th century.

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 2, "English Gothic: Part One," the rooms of Hetton Abbey are named after characters in the story of King Arthur. Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Discuss fully the legend of King Arthur.

2. Discuss how the legend of King Arthur and A Handful of Dust are similar and why.

3. Discuss how A Handful of Dust and the legend of King Arthur are different and why.

(see the answer keys)

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