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 does Tony do for the women?

2. Where is Brenda meeting Marjorie later?

3. Why does John Andrew refuse Tony's invitation?

4. What does Brenda wonder about her visit with Mrs. Beaver?

5. What does Marjorie solicit of Jock?

Short Essay Questions

1. How are the rooms of Hetton symbolic?

2. What do Messigner and Tony decide to do and do you think they make the best choice?

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

4. What are the indications that Tony may still be plagued by a "curse" or bad luck?

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

6. What sort of "struggle" seems to be going on between Brenda and John Beaver?

7. How does Brenda use the death of her son to justify her request for a divorce?

8. What seems to be contrasted in this chapter?

9. How is it obvious that though Brenda thinks she is in control of the relationship between her and Beaver, he actually probably has more control over it?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

In chapter 2, "English Gothic: Part Three," Brenda is just taking the first steps on the road to adultery. Discuss the following:

1. Is it obvious yet that Brenda consciously intends to develop her curiosity of John Beaver into a full-blown affair? Why or why not?

2. Is it obvious yet that John consciously intends to develop his flirtation with Brenda into a full-blown affair? Why or why not?

3. What is similar about these two characters that puts them on the path to having an affair? Could either have stopped this becoming an affair, or is the dye already cast by this early chapter?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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