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 old is Richard Allen Mesington when he has his first crush on Peggy?

2. According to the novel, why does the black powder in the "sweet" rifle remain explosive after hundreds of years?

3. Who is Richard Allen Mesington's best friend?

4. Richard Allen Mesington dreams of learning how to throw what kind of a baseball pitch?

5. What is Richard Allen Mesinger doing at the moment he is killed?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. What happens to the adults that survive the accidental death of Richard Allen Mesinger?

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

5. Describe Richard Allen Mesinger's academic performance.

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

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

8. How is Harv Kline characterized in the novel?

9. 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?

10. Is the "sweet" rifle a work of art?

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

In the novel, is the "sweet" rifle a character or an object? Defend your selection.

Essay Topic 3

Why does the novel "need" to have the accidental discharge come from an old muzzle-loading, black powder rifle? Wouldn't the novel work just as well with an AK-47 hanging above Kline's mantel? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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