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

2. According to Grossman at the end of Chapter 2, what is the most effective treatment for psychiatric casualties?

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

4. According to Grossman in Chapter 1, what is the primary duty of the leader of a Greek phalanx?

5. According to Grossman at the beginning of Chapter 5, what produces actual terror in really dangerous situations?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What does hard-to-soft mean?

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

8. What is punishment justification?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

In the first sections of ON KILLING, Dave Grossman discusses how a myriad of causes are often cited for causing psychiatric casualties in combat. He goes through them an refutes all by the trauma of killing. Write a three part essay in which you discuss the argument for and against several of these potential causes. What effect does each cause have on a soldier in combat? How has this manifested itself in the field? What argument does Grossman use to refute the assertion that it is the primary cause of psychiatric casualties?

Part 1) Exhaustion.

Part 2) Fear.

Part 3) Hate.

(see the answer keys)

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