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. What famous study is cited at the beginning of Chapter 1?

2. What term does Grossman use in Chapter 6 to indicate the method one uses to kill in hand-to-hand-combat?

3. In discussing the atavistic fervor of a mob early in Chapter 2, Grossman cites what recent genocide?

4. According to Grossman at the end of Chapter 1, what is not widely known about CW Whittlesley, the commander of the Lost Battalion?

5. During World War I, what was the favored weapon of American servicemen for killing enemy combatants?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the three categories of atrocity as delineated in Chapter 1?

2. How was the Roman centurion model more effective than the Greek phalanx, according to Grossman?

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

4. According to Grossman in Chapter 3, how can PTSD be treated effectively?

5. Why does the Vietnam Vet quoted in Chapter 7 choose to leave the army after six tours?

6. What options are open to soldiers in combat?

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

8. What factors contribute to group absolution?

9. How did military predictions regarding civilian bombings and psychiatric casualties prove completely wrong in World War II?

10. How does Grossman use his distance-guilt corollary to explain the oppression of the poor in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the root causes and addressing of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the American military? What step of the killing process is interrupted, leading to PTSD, and what factors are involved in this stunting of emotional processing? How does PTSD manifest itself? In what conflict did numbers of soldiers suffering from PTSD skyrocket? How long did it take the American military to address this concern, and what has been done?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the book, Grossman has argues that conditioning has been the key to increasing shooting rates in combat zones. It bypasses the conscious mind's inclination to avoid killing. Write a three-part essay analyzing the types of conditioning used in a military context:

Part 1) What is standard conditioning, and how is it connected to Pavlov's work with dogs? How does this type of conditioning manifest itself in military training? What specific defenses is it trying to overcome? What is its goal?

Part 2) What is operant conditioning, and how is it connected to Skinner's work with rats? To what extent is military operant training more subtly employed than traditional conditioning? How does this conditioning alter soldier behavior in chaotic combat?

Part 3) In military emulation of a role model, who is the standard soldier's role model? What does this role model represent to the soldier, and how does he wish to emulate him? What aspects of aggression and manhood does this affect?

Essay Topic 3

In the first section of ON KILLING, the author argues that the soldier has more options on a battlefield than simply fight or flight. In an essay, discuss these options and particularly the most common one taken: posture. Firstly, why is fight-or-flight not a legitimate choice in a fight between two humans? What other two options are open to humans in this case? What makes posturing such an attractive option, and how has the development of firearms only improved a soldier's ability to posture?

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