On Killing Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Dave Grossman (author)
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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 Grossman in Chapter 2, who is often given the cold shoulder in the military?

2. What percentage of the population can sustain more than a few months duty without sustaining long-term mental damage?

3. According to Grossman in Chapter 4, an effective strategy in defeating an enemy's ability to make war is in destroying what?

4. Near the end of Chapter 1, Grossman cites a political cartoon criticizing what American commander?

5. What city did King Sennacherib destroy?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did mechanical distance change the perception of war in the 1990's?

2. Describe the metaphor Grossman uses for fortitude in Chapter 6?

3. As described in Chapter 2, why are snipers given the cold shoulder in the military?

4. At the beginning of the book, what personal prejudices does Grossman admit to?

5. What societal and moral tenets cause guilt in an individual who has killed in a war?

6. What is a crew-served weapon?

7. What options are open to soldiers in combat?

8. What does Grossman reveal to be the most shocking element of crimes in the beginning of Chapter 5?

9. According to Grossman in Chapter 4, how do soldiers deal with guilt and horror in combat?

10. How does the Yale electroshock study connect with Grossman's thesis in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The likelihood of a soldier to kill in combat is markedly improved if he feels he is not the only culpable party to the killing. Write an essay about this diluting of guilt. What is group absolution, and what components of a group dynamic make it possible? Why is a soldier comforted by the sense that others around him are also killing? What is a crew-served weapon, and how is it effective in dispersing guilt for killing?

Essay Topic 2

Near the end of ON KILLING, Dave Grossman turns his concern from military policy to policy related to the private sector, particularly the entertainment industry. Write an essay in three parts about the recommendations Dave Grossman makes regarding the world of entertainment:

Part 1) What does Dave Grossman have to say about the world of print media? Does he think that it has any effect on the youth of America, one way or another? Based upon this opinion, does Grossman suggest any major alteration to the way it goes about delivering its product?

Part 2) What recommendation does Grossman make regarding the film industry and television? Discuss the dueling concerns that the author acknowledges these industries have and the responsibilities they share. What defense does he offer against shouts that he is censoring art with these recommendations?

Part 3) In summing up his arguments regarding the entertainment industry, why is Grossman confident that these changes will go into effect? Does he think the public will demand them, and why? How does reformation constitute a public emergency in his opinion?

Essay Topic 3

At one point in ON KILLING, Grossman describes the roots of fear and group bonding that can lead to an atrocity like the My Lai massacre. Write a three-part essay on the factors that lead to an atrocity in war, using My Lai as a framing device:

Part 1) How does fear of an unseen enemy make atrocities more likely in war? Discuss the way in which this creates emotional distance between noncombatants and soldiers. How does a catalyzing event, like an attack on the unit, further increase the likelihood of this sort of atrocity?

Part 2) What form of empowerment is felt in an atrocity? Discuss how the active and powerful decision to kill those whom one suspects of complicity in suffering can empower a soldier. What sort of possible catharsis can occur as a result?

Part 3) Discuss the group cohesion that can occur as a result of an atrocity? How does killing unarmed noncombatants bond a group of soldiers together? Conversely, discuss how the decision not to take part in an atrocity becomes dangerous as a result of this cohesion.

(see the answer keys)

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