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Handful of Dust

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Handful of dust

Waugh presents drinking within the 1930s as a way of helping someone to deal with problems that they may be having within their life. In this case Tony Last is seen to be having drink after drink with his best friend Jock. Tony is seen to have said that he ‘felt low for weeks…bloody low….how about some brandy?’ Because Tony had been feeling low for weeks, most likely because of the fact that he had barely seen Brenda at all and all their communication had been through letter, we can see why it would be plausible to believe that he was now drinking away his problems. The tag question of ‘how about some brandy’ added to the end of his statement also supports this as, not only does it come within the same sentence as him admitting to feeling rotten, but he had already had several drinks beforehand therefore increasing he chance of doing something he shouldn’t have done. Because of Jock turning up to be some company for Tony; they are more likely to have a few more drinks as it would have been impolite for one person to be drinking and the other not. This is why there are such events as when Beaver and Jock asking for drinks at the same time at the beginning of the novel, while they are at Brat’s club, and it’s even more likely that they would take in a drink if someone else would be buying it. Jock’s appearance here is almost like he is giving Tony another chance to drink, like he is taking it as an excuse to have ‘some brandy’, ‘port’, and ‘Burgundy’. It would appear that Tony does become drunk by the end of the evening and this is noted by Tony himself and also later when he calls up Brenda, by Brenda. Tony asks Jock ‘not even when I’m tight, like this?’ The lexis choice here has been used to soften the term drunk to the word ’tight’ instead, but it could also be a social term as Tony is with his high class friend Jock and wouldn’t say that he was drunk or another word with a similar meaning. However because Brenda also says... Show More

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