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. Why does Tony call and awaken Brenda?

2. What does John learn when he returns home from the club?

3. Where does Tony end up after the get together?

4. How does Brenda fool John Beaver?

5. How does Marjorie feel about John Beaver?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Is it likely that John Beaver at this point is not really interested in pursuing something with Brenda Last?

3. What do you think of John Beaver's attempts to remain connected to the upper class by angling for invitations to various events.

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

5. Describe John Andrew's death.

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

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

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One person is seldom to blame when adultery comes into a marriage. Discuss the following:

1. What factors push Brenda into adultery? Give examples.

2. What is Tony's part in why Brenda chooses to be unfaithful? Should he accept part of the blame? Give examples.

3. Do you think the way Tony treats Brenda after her request for a divorce is fair and honorable? Why or why not?

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

One of the major themes of A HANDFUL OF DUST is that of the differences among different classes in 1930's England. When the book opens, we meet Mrs. Beaver and her son John, who though they once lived in luxury, now get by through Mrs. Beaver's foray into the mundane middle class of making a living. Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Discuss the idea of "class" as it exists in this novel. Be sure to include specific examples from the text and a definition of class.

2. Compare and contrast the life of upper-class England with that of either the middle class or lower class (i.e., the servants) as it exists in the novel. What is the upper class attitude towards earning a living? The middle class? The lower class? Which class seems the most practical? The most idealistic?

3. Discuss the following question: What is more of a barrier among people: class, education, religion or gender? Explain your reasoning fully using examples both from the text and your own life experiences.

(see the answer keys)

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