The Rifle Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who discovers the "sweet" rifle in 1993 in the attic of a house in Connecticut?

2. Where does the "sweet" rifle remain from c. 1776 until 1993?

3. Over what distance does John Byam shoot when he kills his first British soldier?

4. Tim Harrow's mind is swirling with all of the following except?

5. How many "sweet" rifles was an average gunsmith likely to make in their career?

Short Essay Questions

1. Do you think that John Waynewright would have valued Cornish McManus's "sweet" rifle?

2. The last time he loaded his rifle, John Byam used an extraordinary amount of care during the process. Do you think he always was so careful when loading?

3. What aspect of Cornish McManus's personality, that John Waynewright dislikes, allows him to build a "sweet" rifle?

4. In reviewing John Byam's actions in the novel, would you consider him a hero?

5. The cover image of several common editions of the book shows a left-handed flintlock rifle. Does the book describe the rifle as being left-handed?

6. Why does John Byam offer so much wealth in exchange for Cornish McManus' "sweet" rifle?

7. Cornish McManus is a superb gunsmith with great vision and skill. Describe his shooting ability.

8. Why does John Byam kill the first British officer that he kills?

9. When John Byam uses the rifle to kill British officers, who is doing the killing--Byam or the rifle?

10. In order to fire properly, the following things must be true: "the powder is dry and in good shape" (p. 16); "the flint is clean and with a new sharp edge" (p. 16); "the frizzen is wiped dry" (p. 16); "the spring on the hammer is strong" (p. 16); "the flint [slams] hard against the frizzen" (p. 16); "the powder is positioned correctly in the pan" (p. 17). Explain how all of these things happen to occur on Christmas Eve, 1993.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Why does the novel "need" to have the accidental discharge come from an old muzzle-loading, black powder rifle? Wouldn't the novel work just as well with an AK-47 hanging above Kline's mantel? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

John Byam kills his first man when he shoots a British Officer who is about to hang one of Byam's friends. Byam doesn't spend any time thinking about his action before shooting the British Officer. Do you think that Byam made the right choice? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the process of loading a muzzle-loading rifle. Describe why John Byam loaded the rifle the way that he did.

(see the answer keys)

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