Themes In A Handful Of Dust By Evelyn Waugh

2250 Words 9 Pages
A Handful of Dust, written by Evelyn Waugh, centers on the life of Anthony Last. Specifically, on his relationships with others and how those affiliations affect him, both positively and negatively. The novel focuses on themes such as adultery and its effect on others, wealth and its effect on society and class, and morality and its effect on humans. Published in 1934, it quickly establishes itself as a satire, having comedic, tragic, and bitter tones that create the appropriate atmosphere. The story begins with the strained marriage between Anthony “Tony” and Brenda Last, who eventually dissolve their relations following the death of their son and Brenda’s amorous liaison with John Beaver. Having his life shattered, Tony takes a trip to Brazil, …show more content…
Dowell’s relationship with a high-society couple known as the Ashburnhams leads to his life completely transformed due to a series of events within nine years. The book explores adultery, religion, society and class, and morality. Based on the themes alone, The Good Soldier shares a great deal of resemblance with A Handful of Dust. Dowell’s tumultuous friendship with the Ashburnhams leads to a number of arising questions, such as the difference between appearance and reality, the divergence between the heart and mind, and the distinction between lust and love. Overall, The Good Soldier and A Handful of Dust share similar themes, character roles and traits, and story …show more content…
For Florence, Edward, Maisie, and Jimmy it is sexual and passionate, while Nancy does so afar. Florence becomes involved with a young man named Jimmy, who she tosses aside for another man. Jimmy does not lose much due to his involvement with Florence, but his dignity and self-esteem lower due to Florence viewing him very lowly and going to someone else. On the other hand, Edward, the second lover of Florence, receives a much worse fate. After his affairs with several women, including La Dolciquita and Maise, he commits suicide after losing the woman he believes he truly cares for: Nancy Rufford. He is unfaithful to his wife numerous times, causing Leonora to gain more power and control over him due to knowing his many infidelities which get him into trouble. However, upon learning of Nancy’s departure, he finally snaps and ends his life. Similar to his end is Florence’s death. Upon learning of Edward’s disinterest in her and love for Nancy, she believes that there is nothing left, since her affair and marriage are dissolved. She, like her second lover, commits suicide. The two main characters who cheat on their partners in order to be lustful together share a tragic ending due to believing that everything they love is gone for good. Their amorous actions cause nothing but destruction in each of their lives and create a downward spiral

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