1. Why would it be in Montgomery's benefit to keep information on Randolph to blackmail him?
Montgomery would benefit by blackmailing Randolph because Montgomery would have a better chance he won't have to pay back the money he was loaned. Montgomery also would get a reputation of being tough.
2. Why do you think the people who Randolph borrowed money from to give to Montgomery cut off Randolph's ear?
The people Randolph borrowed money from to lend Montgomery want to make a point that they were serious about their loans and weren't going to get robbed. If they make an example out of one person, the rest would follow suit and do the right thing.
3. Why does the author switch back and forth from past to present?
The author would use the technique of switching back and forth from the past to the present to help the reader see things from Montgomery's point of view. This also helps the reader understand Montgomery's actions.
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