A Handful of Dust - Study Guide Chapter Two, English Gothic: Part Two Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Handful of Dust.
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Chapter Two, English Gothic: Part Two Summary

Brenda visits her younger sister Marjorie in London. Marjorie is married to Allan, a labor leader and political candidate. While there she starts dropping hints to her sister of her interest in Mr. Beaver. Brenda and Marjorie go shopping and along the way chat about the latest parties, specifically Polly Cockpurse's upcoming party. Brenda and Marjorie run into Polly lunching with Mrs. Beaver's party. Brenda wishes that Tony had more interest in the party because Brenda doesn't want to go alone.

Brenda allows Mrs. Beaver to coax her into meeting that evening to go over details of renting a flat in London. Brenda wonders if Beaver will be at home when she visits Mrs. Beaver. Despite two invitations that evening, Beaver is at home when Brenda and Mrs. Beaver discuss the flat. She tells Mrs. Beaver that she will go over the details of the rental with Tony and get back to her with a decision. Beaver sees Brenda to the train, at which time Brenda asks him if he would accompany her to Polly's party. Beaver goes over the idea in his mind, realizing that it would be more expensive than usual having Brenda with him for an evening and politely turns her down. The next day, Brenda receives a message from Beaver that he will take her to the party and Brenda's spirits are rejuvenated.

Chapter Two, English Gothic: Part Two Analysis

Brenda goes against the current trend of disdain for Beaver and opens the door for something personal to begin between them. In no time, Brenda inquires about Beaver's sex life, asks him out to a party, and hides it all from her husband. It is at first unclear if the reader is being encouraged to share this dislike for Beaver. Then, the reader is offered a few of Beaver's thoughts firsthand. He is an opportunist and that appears to be as far as his depth goes. If any relationship ensues between these two characters it will be because Beaver has something to gain from it. The chapter also uses Marjorie and Brenda's day in London to introduce the absurdity that comes naturally to this social circle. The day begins with the two shopping and eating and eventually it appears that it is inevitable that they come across their associates. This re-emphasizes the close proximity of the circle itself. The reader already knows that they live close to one another, eat and socialize at the same locations, and tolerate one another purely for social gain.

This section contains 422 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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