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

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Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Seven Summary

There is an investigation and report to the court about the incident with John Andrew the next day. After all of the testimony, it is concluded that John's death was an accident and condolences are offered to Brenda and Tony. Tony doesn't see much of Mrs. Rattery before she leaves, and Brenda exchanges very few words with him. When Jock sends Tony a letter, he opens up a dialog with her only to find that Brenda is remaining at Hetton for a few days. She has kept her plans to spend the weekend at Veronica's to Tony's surprise, and she starts to talk about how John's death has changed their marriage. Completely confused, Tony doesn't push the conversation, let's her go, and invites Jock to spend time with him. When he tells Jock his assessment of Brenda's behavior, Jock reserves his comments. By Monday Tony receives a letter from Brenda admitting to her affair and ending their marriage. Jock apologizes for having known and for the way that everything turned out.

Chapter Three, Hard Cheese on Tony: Part Seven Analysis

The climax of Tony's ill-treatment has been reached. Even with his haughty attitude, Tony has clearly been identified as the outsider of the social circle and therefore the most sensible character introduced. Tony has been left out of an affair that countless people watched at his expense, his son is killed and his wife is asking for the era's version of a divorce. He has taken Beaver's place as the outcast when Beaver is clearly the one who belongs in that position. Brenda has risked everything sensible and important in her life for Beaver, who has no interest in her. He doesn't even try to hide his distaste for her as she professes her love. Tony's problems may not be the only ones coming up however; there is a hint that the whole situation may be too much reality for the social circle. First, Veronica is no longer interested in Brenda while she is going through serious life matters. "It's really embarrassing for us all, Brenda coming . . . I do think she might have chucked. I shan't in the least know what to say to her". Later, Beaver, who is now spending time in the circle with or without Brenda, reacts coldly to her confession of love. "Until Wednesday, when I thought something had happened to you, I had no idea that I loved you". Beaver replies, "Well you've said it enough. You clod". The author follows directly with Tony receiving his break-up letter, just to reemphasize how foolish Brenda is acting. The reader is left to wonder if she will receive some of the treatment that she has subjected Tony to now that the Hard Cheese on Tony chapter is over.

This section contains 480 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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