A Handful of Dust Test | Final 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 Jock tell Tony?

2. What is hard for Tony?

3. What do Tony and Messinger do?

4. What is wrong with Tony?

5. After the family meeting, where does one of Brenda's brothers go?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Tony have to appear to be in the wrong?

2. How has Tony again entrusted his life to someone for whom that trust is not valid?

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

4. Why do you think Tony decides to go away for awhile?

5. How does Brenda use the death of her son to justify her request for a divorce?

6. How is the inadequacies of the social circle in which Brenda revolves evident with the death of John Andrew?

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

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

9. What seems to be contrasted in this chapter?

10. What happens after Brenda has written Tony and telling him about John Beaver?

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

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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