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. When Richard Allen Mesington is fourteen years old he considers pursuing all of the following careers except?

2. When Richard Allen Mesington is four years old, he has an exciting experience doing what?

3. What was Richard Allen Mesington's first pet dog named?

4. When the Mesington family moves away from Willow, Colorado, what state do they move to?

5. Academically, how does Richard Allen Mesington perform?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the novel spend so much time characterizing Richard Allen Mesinger?

2. Sarah steals the rifle from John Byam as he dies; does Tilson steal the rifle from Harv Kline?

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

4. The novel summarizes the life that Richard Allen Mesinger "would" have had if he had not been killed. Is this a valid narrative technique?

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

6. The novel openly mocks Tim Harrow's personal philosophy that draws from firearms and American history, the United States Constitution, and Christianity. Do you think that these sources of information are suitable for mockery?

7. What message does the novel convey?

8. The Mesinger family moves several times during the novel; what impact does this have on Richard Allen Mesinger?

9. Was the "sweet" rifle fundamentally different from other rifles of the period?

10. Describe the chain of events that leads to the rifle being above Harv Kline's fireplace.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Discuss the role of the characterization of Tim Harrow in the novel. Why is Tim even characterized? Why is he characterized as a fringe "crazy"? What role does the character play in the novel?

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)

This section contains 700 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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