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 is still "in the dark" about Brenda's affair?

2. Where does John encounter Tony?

3. Who seems to delight in spreading gossip about Brenda?

4. What does Brenda do to finish the weekend?

5. Where does John next encounter Brenda?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What do Messigner and Tony decide to do and do you think they make the best choice?

4. How does it seem the women and men of the upper social class are portrayed in this chapter?

5. What can you infer about the Beaver household from the information in Chapter 1?

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

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

8. How is the ending, though tragic for some of the characters, is redeeming at the same time?

9. How has John Beaver fared through the saga of Tony and Brenda's failed marriage?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Waugh offers an alternate ending in his serialization of A HANDFUL OF DUST in an American magazine. In that ending, Tony returns to England, is reunited with Brenda, moves into her flat and begins a series of affairs himself. Discuss the following:

1. Which ending to the novel do you think is closer to reality? Why?

2. Which ending is a more honorable one for Tony? Why?

3. Do you think Brenda would have welcomed Tony back and then stayed with it despite his affairs? Explain your reasoning using examples from the text.

Essay Topic 2

As in almost any text, there are a number of symbols and metaphors present in A HANDFUL OF DUST. Discuss one of the following:

1. Choose three major symbols in the novel and discuss their meanings as they occur in various places throughout the text.

2. Choose two major metaphors in the novel and discuss their meanings as they occur in various places throughout the text.

3. Discuss the symbols of Hetton Place as it relates to Tony's ideals and beliefs.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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