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 Chapter 3, Grossman says what two stimuli most often impel soldiers to kill?

2. In Chapter 2, what tactic does Grossman describe as key to training soldiers to fire in combat?

3. In Chapter 7, an anonymous soldier compares what horrific incident to masturbation?

4. What great advance in military technology did Gustavus Adolphus create?

5. In Chapter 1, Grossman reveals that the majority of active World War II soldiers did what?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What is the silent conspiracy does Grossman discuss in Chapter 4?

6. What role does enemy morale play in the choice to kill?

7. As discussed in Chapter 3, what is the emotional advantage of hand grenades?

8. What factors contribute to group absolution?

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

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

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

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

Write an essay about the urge not to kill over the course of history. What evidence does Grossman provide that soldiers going back to the American Civil War have chosen not to kill even in the face of death by enemy fire? What tactics did these soldiers use to avoid killing? At what point in the history of the American military did the non-firing problem become readily apparent? How did the military react to this?

(see the answer keys)

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