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

This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Handful of Dust.
This section contains 613 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)

Chapter Two, English Gothic: Part Four Summary

Brenda's stay in London lasts four days, and as she heads back to Hetton, Tony and John Andrew anxiously await her arrival. Brenda wastes no time selling Tony on the idea of her renting a flat in London. Tony agrees to the flat and Brenda heads back to London three days later. The social scene is buzzing about Brenda's affair. Mrs. Beaver indulges her delight the most, telling more of the relationship than she even knows as fact—finally given the opportunity to brag about her son. Marjorie on the other hand, disapproves and still does not like Beaver. Hetton quickly becomes Brenda's weekend home as she spends the entire week in London once the flat is complete.

The Christmas holiday at Hetton passes in the usual way, with family and many traditions. Brenda feels like the five days spent with her sister, brother in-law, and Tony's relatives at Hetton are unbearably long. Beaver and his mother are in Ireland for the holiday and Brenda sends his Christmas present there. Everyone leaves Hetton, and Brenda and Tony spend their first entire day alone in weeks. The next day, they go to Yorkshire to see a friend named Angela. After being there for a short time, Tony comes to Brenda with the news that Beaver is at the party. For Tony and some of the other guests, the news is surprising. Brenda and all who have seen affair unfold know that Beaver has been invited for that very reason. In an attempt to be friendly with Beaver, Tony finds out that it is Mrs. Beaver that Brenda rents the flat from and he is annoyed at the idea. By New Year's Day, Brenda informs Tony that she plans to take an economic class in London and Tony agrees to her plan.

Chapter Two, English Gothic: Part Four Analysis

With every step Brenda takes away from Hetton and her husband and child, Beaver takes a step up the social ladder. First, the distance between Brenda and her family is established. John Andrew points out that his mother seems to be at an endless party. In his innocence even he points out that something doesn't add up with Brenda's story. If she is in town for a party, John Andrew wants to know why she is gone for four days. Tony is oblivious to any wrongdoing, so much that Brenda tells him that she has been "carrying on" with another man and he can't fathom the reality in the statement. Tony's biggest concern is carrying on life as he is accustomed. He misses Brenda, but has no real care for what she does with her time in London. He almost protests about the flat only because it may affect the timeliness of the renovations he has planned at Hetton.

The completion of the flat signals Brenda's return to society and she can't get enough. "For five years she had been a legendary, almost ghostly name, the imprisoned princess of fairy story, and now that she had emerged there was more enchantment in the occurrence, than in the mere change of habit of any other circumspect wife". Meanwhile Beaver uses Brenda to boost his standing. "Beaver, for the first time in his life found himself a person of interest and, almost of consequence. Women studied him with a new scrutiny, wondering what they had missed in him; men treated him as an equal, even as a successful competitor". Those around them who approve of the affair are enjoying it for entertainment, almost as if real lives and real relationships are not at stake.

This section contains 613 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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A Handful of Dust from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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