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. What material does Cornish McManus use to brown the exterior surface of a barrel?

2. What is the twist rate of the rifling of the barrel of Cornish McManus' "sweet" rifle?

3. According to the novel, how often do police use firearms to shoot criminals?

4. Tim Harrow refers to the effect of bullet impact on game as...

5. Why does Cornish McManus decide to sell his "sweet" rifle?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Imagine you are the "sweet" rifle. Who would you rather be owned by--Cornish McManus or John Byam?

3. What types of uses is Cornish McManus' "sweet" rifle put to during the novel?

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

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

6. Is the "sweet" rifle evil?

7. 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?

8. 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.

9. The "sweet" rifle shoots a .40 caliber ball; most rifles of the period shot a much, much larger ball. Does the small caliber of the "sweet" rifle reduce its killing capability?

10. Describe how life in the American army forces is presented in the novel.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel argues that during the Colonial period rifles were needed tools but that in today's society they are no longer useful. Discuss this contrast.

Essay Topic 2

In the novel, the black powder rifle discharges after 217 of being loaded. Is this credible? Or is it merely a piece of melodrama to establish a political opinion within the novel?

Essay Topic 3

Of the major characters in the novel (Cornish McManus, John Byam, Tim Harrow, Harv Kline, and Richard Allen Mesinger), are any of them villains? If not, why not. If so, who is a villain and why do you consider them to be a villain?

(see the answer keys)

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