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. At the beginning of Chapter 4, what distinction does Grossman make between social learning and the previous two types of conditioning?

2. To what does John Foster compare combat in Chapter 1?

3. Which of the following theorists presents evidence concerning tactical attractiveness of a victim?

4. In Grossman's Chapter 2 trajectory of increasingly violent media, where do children go after cartoons?

5. When does a soldier's guilt following an atrocity become completely unavoidable?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why was combat in Vietnam particularly dirty, as described in Chapter 2?

3. What surprising insight into Vietnam does RB Anderson make in Chapter 1?

4. As described in Chapter 2, how do children progress through increasingly violent entertainment?

5. What changes have occurred in recent years to mitigate the psychiatric casualties of Vietnam?

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

7. Describe the strange dichotomy between nudity and killing in Western culture?

8. What hypothetical situation does Grossman relate in Chapter 3?

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

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

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

A major subject and tonal shift occurs in the last third of ON KILLING when Dave Grossman turns his attention away from the military and toward civilian life. Write an essay about Grossman's opinions about modern American culture. How is the culture conditioning young people to be violent? How have traditional defenses against this deteriorated? What evidence does the author use to argue his points?

Essay Topic 3

At one point in ON KILLING, Grossman describes the roots of fear and group bonding that can lead to an atrocity like the My Lai massacre. Write a three-part essay on the factors that lead to an atrocity in war, using My Lai as a framing device:

Part 1) How does fear of an unseen enemy make atrocities more likely in war? Discuss the way in which this creates emotional distance between noncombatants and soldiers. How does a catalyzing event, like an attack on the unit, further increase the likelihood of this sort of atrocity?

Part 2) What form of empowerment is felt in an atrocity? Discuss how the active and powerful decision to kill those whom one suspects of complicity in suffering can empower a soldier. What sort of possible catharsis can occur as a result?

Part 3) Discuss the group cohesion that can occur as a result of an atrocity? How does killing unarmed noncombatants bond a group of soldiers together? Conversely, discuss how the decision not to take part in an atrocity becomes dangerous as a result of this cohesion.

(see the answer keys)

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