A Handful of Dust - Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Four Summary & Analysis

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Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Four Summary

A week later, Brenda returns to Hetton and is quick to announce that she will stay in London the following weekend. When Tony asks if he is invited, Brenda informs him that she already declined for him. Brenda is going to miss an annual hunting event at Hetton and Tony asks if she could stay for the a few extra days to catch the launch. Brenda uses her class as the reason that staying is out of the question. Brenda has arranged a small party for him with Jock, Marjorie, Allan, and another married couple they know. The men hunt rabbits, play card games, and drink, and Tony ends the night in Brenda's room. To complete the weekend, Brenda goes to church with Tony and John Andrew. Tony extends the offer that Brenda turned down to Jock, encouraging him to stay through the hunt. He tells Jock to invite the woman he is dating. Before Sunday is over, Marjorie tries to get Jock's opinion on Brenda's affair with Beaver. He believes that she will get bored with Beaver before any real harm is done, but Marjorie seems a bit more worried. She knows that Beaver doesn't actually care for Brenda, but she is the only one who seems really bothered by it all. The conversation of Brenda and Beaver passes each couple separately, each person giving their opinion, and Tony is the only one still left in the dark.

Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Four Analysis

This part of the chapter is a transitional section. Every chapter has taken steps to display changes in Brenda's habits; calling less, coming home less, and other behavior to slight Tony and their marriage. This segment differs in that Brenda has become more righteous in her feelings and she clearly has closed the door on Tony guilt free. There is finality in all of the language used. She refers to the changes that she has made as "the new regime" also supporting the idea that Brenda is enjoying the control that she has over Tony. There is a new regime set up in their lives and not only does Tony have no say in it, but he isn't even aware of its significance. "The next day Brenda came to church with him. She had decided to devote the weekend wholly to him; it would be the last for some time" (p. 128). Again, Brenda leads Tony to believe that everything is fine between them; "This has been a jolly weekend . . . just like old times before the economics began". In fact, their enjoyable weekend is Brenda's way of symbolically ending their marriage. The segment ends with everyone invited to spend the weekend with the Lasts, discussing Brenda's affair—Brenda included. No one's opinion is truly sympathetic to Tony and the plight he is facing.

This section contains 490 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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