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. To whom is Jenny once married?

2. Why doesn't Brenda allow John to come in to where she is staying after the party?

3. What does Brenda suggest to Tony?

4. What does Tony tell his kitchen staff?

5. What is Jenny's response to the house?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Jock's date for the hunt weekend.

2. How is it that John Andrew gets caught in the middle of the problems between his parents?

3. How does it seem the women and men of the upper social class are portrayed in this chapter?

4. Do you think that a class is a good enough reason to miss the beginning of an annual, traditional event at Hetton as Brenda does?

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

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

7. What demonstrates that Tony is trying to regain emotional intimacy with Brenda?

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

9. How does John Andrew's behavior demonstrate that he is indeed being affected by the disruption of the household?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In Chapter 3, "Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Seven," Brenda sends Tony a letter telling him about her affair with John and asking to end their marriage. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think Brenda would be so cruel as to write Tony just a couple days after the death of their son?

2. Do you think Brenda ever loved Tony? Why or why not? Give examples.

3. What would be your response if someone did something like what Brenda does in writing Tony so soon after the death of their son?

(see the answer keys)

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