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. With which relative is Richard Allen Mesington particularly close?

2. How does Richard Allen Mesinger die?

3. According to the novel, how common were firearms accidents prior to 1850?

4. Where was Richard Allen Mesington born?

5. Richard Allen Mesington dreams of owing what kind of vehicle?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Richard Allen Mesinger's early teenage life.

2. Describe the early life of Richard Allen Mesinger .

3. Why don't the Mesinger and the Kline children play together?

4. Tim Harrow owns the "sweet" rifle for a few days. He buys it, wraps it up in cloth, and trades it away a few days later. As a character, Harrow has no narrative function beyond transporting the rifle from point A to point B, just like Sarah, an editor, an antique dealer, and a gun collector. Yet the novel spends a significant portion of its space developing Harrow as a character. Why?

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

6. Do you think that Harv Kline feels he got a fair exchange with Tim Harrow?

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

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

9. Describe the chain of events that leads to the rifle being accidentally discharged.

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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

Why does the novel spend so much time characterizing Richard Allen Mesinger? After all, his interaction with the rifle lasts less than one second and the narrative makes it clear that Mesinger never even knew he was being killed. Within the narrative, what difference does it make that Mesinger was who he was?

(see the answer keys)

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