A Handful of Dust - Chapter Five, In Search of a City: Part Two Summary & Analysis

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Chapter Five, In Search of a City: Part Two Summary

After leaving the main boat, Tony, Messinger, and a boat crew of six black boys travel upstream in a shallow boat. They then travel by foot to the position that Messinger calls "First Base Camp". Tony rarely finds a moment of comfort, constantly getting bitten by mosquitoes and unable to shave or wash properly. He begins to think about what is going on in London at this time. These thoughts put Tony to sleep until the sound of Messinger's fussing wakes him later in the night. He is tending to a wound on his toe, having lost an unknown amount of blood to a vampire bat.

Back in London, Brenda dances with Jock and speaks of the divorce. When Jock asks if she will go through with the divorce, Brenda replies that the decision is a matter that Beaver will decide. Neither of them has heard from Tony in a while and Brenda asks if the trip is safe.

Tony, Messinger, and the crew come to an Indian village where only the women are in attendance. An elder from the village offers them drinks and a woman named Rosa introduces herself. She has learned English from a man named Mr. Forbes. The tribe is called Macushi, and eventually Messinger gives up on communicating with the woman and decides to wait until the men return.

When the men return, they are already drunk and incapable of proper interaction. Tony and Messinger wait a week for the intoxication to wear off and try communication again. Messinger tries to explain that he wants to go to the land of the Pie-Wie tribe, but Rosa insists that they are a bad group of people. The two parties negotiate for two days and come to an agreement where twelve men and seven of their wives will travel with Tony and Messinger to Pie-Wie territory.

Chapter Five, In Search of a City: Part Two Analysis

The life in wild unknown territory that Tony and Messinger explore is distinctly being compared and contrasted with the life of the London high society. The reader has to decide where Tony is better off. Things seem very promising for Tony at first. His trip is moving fairly well; everyone around him is seasick and he is able to move around freely. When the seas calm, he meets a beautiful young woman whose company he enjoys and who seems to really like him. It is at this point that the life in London that Tony tries to escape creeps back in. First, Therese feels deceived by the fact that Tony hasn't mentioned that he is still married. Then there is a chance that if she knew the story, she might not have felt so wronged, but Tony never shares it. Now alone again with Messinger, Tony starts to think of London. The reader sees that while Tony is suffering through extreme temperatures, discomfort, and dangers, Brenda is back in London enjoying a party. Tony is thinking of the happier times when he and Brenda met and Brenda is talking about their divorce while dancing with another man. While Messinger and Tony try unsuccessfully to communicate with the Macushi people, Jock has no problem communicating frivolous matters with the Board of Agriculture. Also, notably here is the fact that at every mention of Jock throughout the story, there is mention of his speech on pigs. The occurrence is so much that the reader is led to believe that this speech was of great importance. However, the subject seems only important to Jock and his constituents and becomes even more trivial in light of Tony's plight. The hint of Tony finding more bad luck is presented once again.

This section contains 620 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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