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. Which Roman leader and writer does Grossman quote in Chapter 4?

2. In combat, Grossman says in Chapter 4 that the two entities individuals most want to defend are what?

3. At the end of Chapter 4, what physical reaction to exhaustion and hunger does Grossman cite?

4. Which of the following is not an option for a soldier in combat that Grossman lists in Chapter 1?

5. Which of the following is a component of Demands of Authority as delineated in Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the Lost Battalion's experience behind lines.

2. What are the defining characteristics of a natural warrior?

3. What warning about video games does Grossman make at the end of Chapter 3?

4. What is surprising about the study cited in Chapter 1 regarding what compels soldiers to shoot?

5. What evidence does Grossman provide that violence among youth has increased dramatically since the 1950s?

6. According to Grossman, why do young people idolize entertainment figures more than police and politicians?

7. What are the primary components of Exhaustion as outlined in Chapter 3?

8. In Chapter 7, what comparison does Grossman draw between firing a gun and masturbation?

9. What factors traditionally assist in rationalization and acceptance after combat?

10. Describe the Vietnam story of Chapter 4.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the book is dedicated to the vast majority of soldiers that are naturally resistant to killing, but Grossman indicates that a small number of soldiers feel no remorse after killing. Write an essay about these natural warriors. What do they all have in common? How are their lives generally similar, and how do they interact with less aggressive combatants around them? What separates a natural warrior from a psychopath?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Much of the beginning of ON KILLING deals with the issue of non-firers, a concern the military did not realize it had until after World War II and has been struggling to deal with effectively since. Write an essay in three parts dealing with non-firers and the military's response to them:

Part 1) Approximately what percentage of soldiers in World War II never fired their weapons? Discuss why, from a noncombatant's point-of-view, this seems absurd. What were these soldiers risking by not firing, and what sort of essential drive compelled them to risk this?

Part 2) Discuss the examples given from Rhodesia, the American Civil War, and the two World Wars that countless of soldier chose not kill. What kind of attitude was taken by fellow soldiers to non-killers? Why was the American military surprised by the firing rate of World War II?

Part 3) Upon learning of the low firing rate in World War II, the military made increasing this rate a top priority. What tactics did they use to do this, and how successful were they? How did this success manifest itself in Vietnam, and how was the process refined after Vietnam?

(see the answer keys)

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