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 many close friends does Richard Allen Mesington have during the first few years of his life?

2. How does Richard Allen Mesington refer to the first bear he sees as an infant?

3. In the novel, how many people actually fire the "sweet" rifle?

4. When does Richard Allen Mesinger die?

5. After whom was Richard Allen Mesington named?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

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

5. 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?

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

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

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

9. What does Richard Allen Mesinger think about his neighbor Harv Kline's antique gun?

10. How does the rifle fire after 217 years?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the early life and the family life of Richard Allen Mesinger. Why is it important within the narrative that Mesinger is a likable and typical teenager?

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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