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 is John Beaver's career status?

2. Who does Brenda visit in London?

3. Who comes with Brenda to Hetton?

4. Where does John encounter Tony?

5. Why does Tony call and awaken Brenda?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What demonstrates Tony's inadvertent complicity in Brenda's new life and affair with another man?

6. Describe John Andrew's death.

7. 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?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

Often the people hurt the most in a situation like that of Tony and Brenda's is a child. John Andrew plays a pivotal role in the melodrama of Brenda's descent into selfishness. Discuss the following:

1. Compare the relationship between John Andrew and each of his parents.

2. How does the relationship between John Andrew and his parents (individually) change over the course of the story?

3. How does John Andrew tip the scales in Brenda's decision to reveal all to Tony? Do you think she is genuinely grieved about her son's death or glad for an opportunity for "total freedom"?

(see the answer keys)

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