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

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 534 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Six Summary

The time drags by as Tony waits with Mrs. Rattery to hear from Jock. Mrs. Rattery tries to get Tony's mind off of John Andrew and Brenda with a card game, but Tony only knows a child's game. Eventually Mrs. Rattery convinces him to play but it involves making animal noises. Once Tony realizes that the staff would find his behavior in poor taste, he ends the game.

Meanwhile Jock tries to find Brenda at her flat but meets Princess Jenny Abdul Akbar instead. Jenny is on her way to Polly Cockpurse's where Brenda is and invites Jock into her flat while she gets ready. Jock tells Jenny what has happened so she understands the urgency. She interprets John's death as a result of a curse she carries. When Jock and Jenny arrive at Polly's, Brenda is in a session with a fortune teller named Mrs. Northcote. Someone asks where Beaver is and is told that he is in France. Brenda has had a bad feeling all day that something has happened to him. By the time Brenda is finished with Mrs. Northcote, all of the women at Polly's already know the tragic news. They send her downstairs to talk to Jock. She asks him if the news is that John is dead and Jock replies affirmatively, thinking that she is speaking of her son. When Jock realizes that she thinks he is speaking about John Beaver, he corrects her and is appalled at her response. Later, at Brenda's flat, Brenda tries to correct her error but they both know how wrong her reaction was. When Jock calls Tony, he doesn't share the details of his encounter with Brenda. He tells Tony that he will see Brenda to the train and won't make it back up to Hetton.

Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Six Analysis

The absurdity of the mindset of the socialite characters has been completely brought out in light of John Andrew's death. First there is Mrs. Rattery, who is a different type of socialite than the others, and who doesn't know how to deal with Tony in his grieving state. She sits with him, and the author has her playing a game of patience because it is a trait she is clearly lacking. Princess Jenny Abdul Akbar, one character who appeared genuinely nice to John Andrew, can't remember his name. She then proceeds to try to make his death relative to her in order to catch the attention of Jock. Brenda is the most appalling out of this group of characters. Her reaction is meant to surprise the reader; she has done many callous things to Tony but it is unexpected that she chooses Beaver over her son. Her relief that it is her son that is killed and not Beaver gives the reader the feeling that these characters can't get any worse. In death it has become clear that although Tony seemed like the snob when he was first introduced, he and Jock may be the only sensible thinkers. Unfortunately for Tony, death may also bring the end of his marriage.

This section contains 534 words
(approx. 2 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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