Write a critical analysis of the passage from A Handful of Dust

1137 WordsJul 10, 20185 Pages
Write a critical analysis of the passage from A Handful of Dust starting is mummy coming back today? (p55) and finishing I've been carrying on anyhow this week (p 57), showing how far you think it typical of Waugh's methods and effects in the novel. The passage starts with John Andrew, the most innocent person in the novel speaking. He is questioning the absence of his mother and waiting eagerly for her return from "monkey-woman's party". His father reassures him that she is sure to be back that very day. John Andrew points out that Brenda would not have seen Thunderclap for four days, this is sweet as he misses the point that she has not seen her own son for four days either! It shows how attached little John Andrew is to his…show more content…
Brenda asks her husband not to think about it either, which will have the reverse effect as it is human nature to do what we asked not to do. John makes it all the worse for poor Tony by asking "What's a flat, daddy?" At this time a flat would have meant all sorts of things. By Brenda having a flat it gave her a lot of independence to do what she wanted. I would also be surprised if the thought of her pursuing an affair hadn't entered Tony's mind at this point but he keeps this thought well hidden. John's little question would be sure to play on Tony's mind so that he could not keep his promise not to "give it another thought". Brenda begins to manipulate Tony with her womanly charms, although he sees straight through it, "I suppose all this means you're going to start again about your flat?" it doesn't put him in a better position to say no to her. Brenda asks whether Tony has been "brooding" and he quite defensively says "no". Most of the conversation is like this, Brenda does the talking while Tony makes short replies. By doing all the talking Brenda doesn't give Tony a chance to say no and by the time she is done Tony is agreeing to the flat. I found there were two main points which sprang to mind, regarding Waughs methods and effects in this piece. Clearly this story of marital betrayal relates closely to Waugh's personal experience and he seems to be remarkably generous towards Brenda. Her behaviour is clearly compulsive; "I've found a

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