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Write A Critical Analysis Of The Passage From A Handful Of Dust

1037 words - 4 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 horse, as if he were in his mother's shoes he would not be
desperate to get back to his mother but to his horse. We know that
Brenda and Tony do not play a big part in John's life, he has a nanny
and is close to the stable boy, and sees him as a role model.

It is clear to see that Tony had been suffering with from loneliness
and missing Brenda by his reply to the stationmaster, "I've been
expecting her every day". The two have a little chat while they wait
for Brenda's train to arrive. The stationmaster refers to Brenda as
"Her ladyship", a title she certainly does not live up to on her
jaunts to London. She herself admits it when she sees that the two
have come to the station for her "I don't at all deserve it"

Waugh puts a brilliant little speech together for John to tell his
mother on the way home. It is very amusing as it is written as a child
of his age would speak. It has little punctuation and is one very long
sentence containing lots of different information about the past few
days that Brenda has missed. I imagine Waugh wanted it to be read very
fast and rushed, because John would have had to speak in this way if
he wanted to impart all his news in the one breath. Also he is very
excited and wants to tell his mother everything all at the same time!
This little speech confirms that he has in actual fact missed his
mother more than we had first thought, or it could have been the
simple fact of "out of sight, out of mind". After John has described
his busy few days, Tony completely contradicts him by merely saying
"Nothing much has happened". This seems a strange thing to say, as
obviously Tony has had to occupy his time with something. The way it
is said makes me think that anything that Brenda is not involved with
is not worth remembering and is why he is so relieved to have her

Brenda goes on to do something very cunning, something she repeatedly
does throughout the novel. She confesses everything, the men, the
spending of money, the partying without a single thought for her
priorities at home. She does it in such a way though that it sounds
like it is nothing, she treats the situation as though it was not
important and needs no more explanation. This is...

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