On Killing Test | Final 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. Who is Caspar Weinberger?

2. In the Vet of the Year anecdote in Chapter 3, who did Dave use as an example of someone who did not kill but was still blamed?

3. Which of the following is not a popular late Fifties novel or film that Grossman cites in Chapter 3 as a representation of a World War II vet?

4. What unacceptable practice was included in military training in 1975?

5. In World War II, only 15-20 percent of riflemen made it past which stage of killing?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How did John Foster rationalize killing a VC in Chapter 1?

3. What factors does Grossman say are contributing to youth violence in Chapter 1?

4. What solution did the American military devise to deal with low firing rates in World War II?

5. Which essential qualities makes a role model desirable as listed in Chapter 4?

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

7. In Chapter 2, what does Grossman say an atrocity does to a combat unit's group dynamic?

8. According to Grossman in Chapter 3, what is the difference between military killing training and that provided by video games?

9. Describe the strange story of the CIA guard at the end of Chapter 1?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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

Perhaps the centerpiece of Grossman's research, the killing process, through which the author explains how a person chooses to kill and then processes the killing - or inability to kill - after, is the subject of most of the second half of the book. Write a three-part essay about this process:

Part 1) Begin the essay by discussing the steps in the killing process. Where does it begin and, ideally, how does a killer resolve the act and its emotional repercussions? Must a killer go through all of the steps in the process?

Part 2) Using the fallout of the Vietnam War as a model, discuss what happens when the latter steps of the process are stunted? What factors are key in allowing a killer to rationalize and accept that he has killed? How were these denied to Vietnam vets?

Part 3) At one point in ON KILLING, Dave Grossman applies the killing process to an entire culture, namely America after two wars of the twentieth century. Discuss the way America collectively processed killing after Hiroshima and the first Gulf War. How did this process affect American leadership?

(see the answer keys)

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