|Friend of Tony
|John Beaver's mother
|Friend of Brenda
In the novel "A Handful of Dust" by Evelyn Waugh, several characters play crucial roles in the development of the story. These characters include Tony Last, the protagonist, Brenda Last—Tony's wife, John Beaver—Brenda's lover, Mr. Todd—an eccentric explorer, Jock Grantley—Tony's friend, Mrs. Beaver—John Beaver's mother, Mrs. Rattery—a friend of Brenda, Lord Copper—a newspaper magnate, and Mr. Ape—an eccentric vagabond.
Tony Last is the central character in "A Handful of Dust." He is a country squire who adores his ancestral home, Hetton Abbey. Tony is a reserved and loyal man who believes in traditional values. He is passionate about his estate and the old way of life.
Brenda Last is Tony Last's beautiful wife. She is discontented with her life in the country and craves excitement and adventure. Brenda is portrayed as a superficial woman interested in material wealth and social status. Her dissatisfied nature eventually leads her into an affair with John Beaver.
John Beaver is a young and ambitious social climber who becomes Brenda's lover. He is depicted as a charismatic character who could easily manipulate others. John is primarily interested in pursuing relationships with wealthy women to enhance his own social standing.
Mr. Todd is an eccentric explorer who lives in the Amazon rainforest and eventually becomes Tony's companion in the jungle. He is a peculiar and mysterious character who adds an element of adventure to the story.
Jock Grantley is Tony's loyal friend and confidante. He provides a contrast to the other characters, as he is content with his simple life and lacks the ambition for social climbing. Jock serves as a sounding board to Tony and offers him emotional support throughout the novel.
Mrs. Beaver is John Beaver's overbearing mother. She is protective of her son and disapproves of his affair with Brenda. Mrs. Beaver adds a touch of comedy to the story with her meddling and attempts to sabotage Brenda and John's relationship.
Mrs. Rattery is a friend of Brenda who introduces her to John Beaver. She is depicted as a gossiping and meddling character who often stirs up trouble.
Lord Copper is a powerful newspaper magnate who uses Tony's misfortune as a means to boost his own popularity. He is portrayed as a manipulative and selfish individual who is only concerned with his own agenda.
Mr. Ape is a peculiar vagabond who displays strange behavior throughout the story. He adds a touch of absurdity and serves as a foil to the other characters.
|Loyal, reserved, tradition-oriented
|Superficial, discontented, materialistic
|Ambitious, charming, manipulative
|Content, simple, supportive
Tony Last is the son of a wealthy father who left him the family estate, Hetton Abbey. Tony's love and dedication to his ancestral home stem from his upbringing in an environment that promoted tradition and preservation. He is married to Brenda Last, and their marriage starts to crumble when Brenda seeks excitement elsewhere.
Brenda Last comes from a modest background and married Tony for his status and wealth. However, she quickly becomes bored with rural life and seeks adventure and social status. This discontentment leads Brenda into an affair with John Beaver, ultimately driving her to abandon Tony and their marriage.
John Beaver is a social climber who hails from a lower-class background. He uses his charm and wit to gain access to wealthy individuals like Brenda. John, driven by his ambition, sees relationships as a means to elevate his social standing and accumulate wealth.
Mr. Todd is a mysterious and eccentric individual who lives in the remote wilderness of the Amazon rainforest. He adds an element of mystique to the story when he crosses paths with Tony and becomes his companion in the jungle.
Jock Grantley, a close friend of Tony, leads a simple life and is content with his modest circumstances. He serves as a contrast to the other characters, highlighting the superficiality and ambition prevalent among the upper class.
Mrs. Beaver is an overprotective and disapproving mother. She is deeply invested in her son John's life and attempts to interfere in his affair with Brenda.
Mrs. Rattery is a conniving character who takes pleasure in gossip and meddling. She plays a small but influential role in introducing Brenda to John Beaver.
Lord Copper is a powerful figure in the media industry who manipulates Tony's misfortune for his own gain. He personifies the selfishness and lack of empathy often associated with powerful individuals.
Mr. Ape is a mysterious and eccentric vagabond who adds an element of absurdity to the story. His behavior and interactions with other characters add a touch of comedy and satire.
Tony's character arc revolves around the loss and eventual acceptance of his cherished lifestyle and the world he once belonged to. He starts as an adoring husband and proud custodian of Hetton Abbey but eventually faces the disintegration of his marriage and the loss of his estate. He undergoes a transformation, finding solace in the uncharted wilderness of the Amazon and coming to terms with his new reality.
Brenda's character arc centers around her dissatisfaction and relentless pursuit of excitement. She begins as a discontented wife, seeking fulfillment outside her marriage. Her affair with John Beaver ultimately leads to the collapse of her marriage and forces her to confront the consequences of her actions.
John's character arc revolves around his manipulative nature and relentless ambition. He uses his charm to maneuver his way into the lives of wealthy individuals like Brenda. However, his pursuit of status and fortune leaves him empty and dissatisfied in the end.
|Brenda Last, Jock Grantley, Mr. Todd
|Tony Last, John Beaver, Mrs. Beaver, Mrs. Rattery
|Brenda Last, Mrs. Beaver
The relationships in "A Handful of Dust" are complex and often interconnected. Tony and Brenda's marriage crumbles due to Brenda's affair with John Beaver, which leads to Brenda leaving Tony for John. Jock Grantley provides emotional support to Tony throughout his journey. Mrs. Beaver disapproves of Brenda and John's relationship. Mrs. Rattery serves as a catalyst in Brenda's involvement with John Beaver. Lord Copper manipulates Tony's misfortune for his own gain. Mr. Todd accompanies Tony on his expedition into the Amazon. Mr. Ape, although eccentric, does not have significant relationships with other characters.
In conclusion, "A Handful of Dust" presents a cast of diverse characters, each contributing uniquely to the story's narrative. Evelyn Waugh skillfully portrays their backgrounds, motivations, and relationships, allowing readers to explore themes of societal expectations, betrayal, and personal transformation.