Work Sheet: A Gun for Sale

Expected Answers

I. Questions on the text:

1) Briefly describe atmosphere of the town when raven walks to his job.


2) Briefly summarize the events/the external action :


3) Write a detailed characterization of Raven:

When Raven walks to the murder of the Minister of War, he might be looked upon as a normal young man coming from work in an office: he wears a dark overcoat and carries an attaché case. But he has the collar of his coat turned up well above his mouth, because he does not want to be identified: he is a hired murderer on his way to an important job, the job to kill the Minister of War. Since he has a repulsive hare-lip, which was sewn badly when he was young and grew up in a poor family, he can be easily identified and therefore he has to be careful and ruthless in his job. He can´t afford to leave a witness who might identify behind.

He is proud of being perfect in his job. For one thing, he is an excellent observer and does not miss any detail when he gets to the scene of his work. He makes a mental picture of the room of the minister. Secondly, he uses his brains and is not influenced by any feelings. When he murders someone, he has no hatred against the victim; it´s just a job. When he executes the murder, he is cold-blooded and looks for the exact point where he shoots the minister, because he wants to do his job tidily. He is a man who can be relied on: he sticks to the instructions and is not curious about things which do not concern him. He does not read what is written on the piece of paper he has to leave in the minister´s hand. He is very careful and does not leave any traces after a job. That is the way he sees himself: perfect in his job.

He has, however, also a few weaknesses he does not really talk about. He takes the automatic gun with him, although he was supposed to leave it behind. It probably is too great a temptation for a man with his job to waste such a wonderful instrument. Moreover, he is not all that unemotional when things don´t work out the way he expects them to work: he gets pretty upset when the old woman does not die as quickly as he had expected.

In his private life, he is a lonely man who does not seem to have any friends, which we can easily understand when we see people’s reaction to his hare-lip. The reactions of old woman and of the minister are a good illustration for that. We also get to know that Raven has never had a girlfriend in his life, a fact which probably makes him bitter in his feelings towards other people.