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. Why does Brenda meet with Mrs. Beaver?

3. What opinion does John offer about Brenda?

4. Who is anxiously awaiting Brenda's arrival back at Hetton?

5. When Brenda finally communicates with Tony, what does she tell him?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does it seem Mrs. Beaver is manipulating something between Brenda and John Beaver?

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

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

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

8. Describe John Andrew's death.

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

10. What do you think is a theme that is introduced in this first chapter?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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