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. In what style was the Abbey rebuilt?

2. Why does John initially decline Brenda's request that he escort her to a party?

3. Why is Tony disappointed about a note he receives?

4. How does Brenda fool John Beaver?

5. Who wants to know how to find Jock Grant-Menzies?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How are the rooms of Hetton symbolic?

3. What demonstrates how very widespread the knowledge about Brenda's affair is and how much it is a topic of conversation?

4. Describe John Andrew's death.

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

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

7. What does Tony find annoying and why do you think he put himself in the situation?

8. What demonstrates the possibility that Brenda is already planning a divorce?

9. What are several things revealed about Jenny Abdul Akbar?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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