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. As related in Chapter 6, which catalyzing event occurred to Calley's platoon the day before the My Lai massacre?

3. In Chapter 3, what does Grossman delineate as a voice of authority in modern youth killing?

4. Which of the following is not an example of an earlier, less-detrimental media monster listed in Chapter 2?

5. In Chapter 4, Grossman says that every veteran can immediately visualize his what?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What separates a natural warrior from a psychopath?

3. How does Grossman apply the killing process to the national mood in Chapter 2?

4. In Chapter 5, how does Grossman illustrate the danger of refusing to take part in an atrocity?

5. What factors contribute to a soldier's decision to commit an atrocity?

6. How does Grossman explain murder-suicide in terms of the killing process in Chapter 2?

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

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

9. According to Grossman in Chapter 3, how can PTSD be treated effectively?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

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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