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 Brenda reply to Tony when he asks if he is invited?

2. Who has come to the station to meet Tony?

3. Why is John annoyed with Brenda?

4. Who is Mrs. Rattery?

5. What opinion does John offer about Brenda?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Describe John Andrew's death.

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

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

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

8. Give a brief description of the Last family members.

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are several chapters named "Hard Cheese on Tony." Discuss the following:

1. What does the phrase "Hard Cheese on..." mean? (This may require a little research).

2. Do you believe all the unfortunate things that happen to Tony is solely bad luck? Why or why not?

3. Discuss two examples of when Tony creates his own bad luck. How could he have done differently?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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