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. According to the novel, how fast is the rifle ball traveling when it hits Richard Allen Mesinger?

2. Why does Mrs. Kline put candles on the mantle?

3. According to the novel, what is the muzzle velocity of a black powder rifle's projectile?

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

5. According to the novel, what was the leading cause of death to voyagers along the Oregon Trail?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

3. How is Harv Kline characterized in the novel?

4. Describe the several career paths that Mesinger contemplates during his early life.

5. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Describe the processes that Cornish McManus used to manufacture the rifle.

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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