On Killing Test | Final Test - Hard

Dave Grossman (author)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Grossman in Chapter 1, which type of combatants are more prone than most to a powerful exhilaration stage?

2. At the end of Chapter 5, Grossman says that a soldier who refuses to take part in an atrocity represents what?

3. In his anecdote of Chapter 2, what event elicited surprisingly violent action from Richard Heckler?

4. In what country did the case-study of Chapter 4 take place?

5. In Chapter 5, how does Grossman describe natural warriors' attitudes toward less aggressive colleagues?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At one point in ON KILLING, Grossman discusses the three external concerns that affect a combatant's choice to kill. Write an essay analyzing these three concerns. W hat is the essence of each factor? What gives it its power over the potential killer? How effective is it in catalyzing the killing and in mitigating the guilt that follows? Cite an example of this type of factor that is used in the book.

Part 1) Voice of Authority

Part 2) Group Absolution

Part 3) Attractiveness of the Target

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?

(see the answer keys)

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