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. After John Byam, what act is never performed on the "sweet" rifle?

2. About when were Harv Kline's two children born?

3. According to the novel, how fast does a black powder charge burn?

4. Who is Richard Allen Mesington's first girlfriend?

5. According to the novel, why were all guns kept loaded prior to 1850?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

4. 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?

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

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

7. 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?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When rifle kills British officers, who is doing the killing--Byam or the rifle? When the rifle kills Richard David Mesinger, who is doing the killing--Harv Kline or the rifle? Why are the two situations different? Compare and contrast.

Essay Topic 2

In the novel, the black powder rifle discharges after 217 of being loaded. Is this credible? Or is it merely a piece of melodrama to establish a political opinion within the novel?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the process of loading a muzzle-loading rifle. Describe why John Byam loaded the rifle the way that he did.

(see the answer keys)

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