Brideshead Revisited Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Summarize the story.

Brideshead Revisited is the chronicle of a man named Charles Ryder and his association with an aristocratic English family between World War I and World War II.

2. What is Charles Ryder's state of mind in the opening chapter?

It is 1943 and Charles is a man with little enthusiasm for his mission or his life in general. He does not even question where he and his men are heading.

3. How does Charles show his melancholic state of mind in the opening chapter?

Charles is a man plagued by melancholy. Although he is committed to performing his military duties, he takes no interest in strategy or tactics and compares his service to that of a husband who no longer has any affection for a once-beloved wife.

4. To what does Charles compare the army?

Charles gives the army the human characteristics of a woman when he describes it as, "I learned her as one must learn a woman one has kept house with day in and day out for three and a half years. I learned her slatternly ways, the routine and mechanism of her charm, her jealousy and self-seeking, and her nervous tick with the fingers when she was lying."

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