The Rifle Test | Final 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. How does Richard Allen Mesington refer to the first bear he sees as an infant?

2. When he is an infant, how does Richard Allen Mesington get Sissy to stop walking?

3. In Missouri, one of Richard Allen Mesington's neighbors tells him stories about what historical world event?

4. Where was Richard Allen Mesington born?

5. When he is an infant, Richard Allen Mesington imitated which animal?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is the most sympathetic character in the novel, and why?

2. How many people own the "sweet" rifle?

3. How does the rifle fire after 217 years?

4. How is Harv Kline characterized in the novel?

5. Tim Harrow is characterized as a fringe "crazy" person; the narrative openly mocks him. What actions does he perform in the novel that would make you shun him in the real world?

6. What experiences does Mesinger have with firearms in his life?

7. Throughout the 217 year history of the "sweet" rifle, what is it functionally used for?

8. What message does the novel convey?

9. What happens when the rifle accidentally discharges above Harv Kline's fireplace?

10. Imagine that you came into possession of the "sweet" rifle instead of Tilson. What would you do with the rifle if you did not know its history? What would you do with the rifle if you did know its history?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Cornish McManus is described as an excellent gunsmith but an indifferent shot. Discuss how it is possible to be very good at one thing but not very good at something else that is closely associated.

Essay Topic 2

The novel infers the rifle has a will of its own--after killing Richard David Mesinger it sits in a gun cabinet "Waiting" (p. 105). Describe the narrative effect of this anthropomorphizing of the rifle. Why is the rifle treated like this?

Essay Topic 3

In today's terms, John Byam would be called a sniper. Discuss the role of snipers in today's military actions. Is the role of a sniper somehow immoral? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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