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. Who has tea with Brenda and Polly?

2. Why does Brenda wish Tony wanted to go to the party?

3. What does Brenda say she is going to do to give her an excuse to be in London?

4. How does Mrs. Rattery arrive at Hetton?

5. To whom is Jenny once married?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Brenda take the news of her son's death?

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

3. How does Reggie present the situation about Brenda to Tony?

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

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

6. What is rather ironic about how divorce is treated in this era?

7. Who has moved into Hetton Abbey?

8. What seems most important to Tony as he lies possibly dying and alone?

9. How does Tony finally take some of his own personal power back and take charge of his destiny?

10. What is Tony's position in Brenda's social circle by the end of this chapter?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

The men in A HANDFUL OF DUST often seem to get the bad end of the stick from the women in their lives. Some say that Waugh's somewhat compassionate treatment of Brenda and other women in his other novels who have "strayed" is a reflection of his own life. Discuss the following:

1. How does Waugh portray the relationship between men and women in A HANDFUL OF DUST?

2. Do you think Waugh's portrayal is accurate? How much of his portrayal of how the women treat the men may be a reflection of his personal experience? (This may require a little research).

3. Are there any women in the text who are portrayed admirably? Who? Give examples.

Essay Topic 3

In most relationships, each person is getting something out of the relationship, whether or not the relationship seems good. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think John Beaver is getting out of his affair with Brenda, especially considering he does not seem to particularly like Brenda.

2. What do you think Brenda is getting out of his affair with John, especially considering she does not seem to particularly find John all that interesting.

3. What is Tony getting out of the marriage with Brenda after she begins staying in London for great lengths of time?

(see the answer keys)

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