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. In the final story of Chapter 4, the one in which an American and Viet Cong soldier happen upon each other, who is killed?

2. At the end of Chapter 5, how does Grossman describe the power of the edged-weapon threat?

3. As described in Chapter 4, how did German soldiers surrender at the end of World War II?

4. Which of the following is not a contributing factor in determining whether a group easily unites in combat killing?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What factors contribute to group absolution?

4. What does hard-to-soft mean?

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

6. What surprising fact regarding soldier's fears in combat is revealed in Chapter 2?

7. In Chapter 4, what philosophical and literary justifications for killing does Grossman cite?

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

9. What is punishment justification?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the last part of ON KILLING deals with comparing the way the military conditions soldiers and media conditions young people in America. Write an essay charting and analyzing this comparison. What are the means of traditional and conditioning in either arena? How do the authorities of the military training compare to those that young people in America listen to? What finer points does military training place on conditioning that the media in civilian life does not?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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