Regarding the Pain of Others Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Discuss the purpose of Virginia Woolf's "Three Guineas" as explained by Sontag, and explain why Sontag opens her book with this reference.

Sontag begins with the discussion of "Three Guineas" because it was one of the earliest extended works of feminist war protest. In it, Woolf discusses the ethics of war photographs from a unique perspective in the midst of its development. Using this work, Sontag frames her comparisons of war photography and war protest now and in the past.

2. According to Sontag, how are photographs of victims a form of rhetoric? What is their purpose or message? How do they function to convey this message?

According to Sontag, photographs are a type of rhetoric in that they "reiterate," "simplify" and give the impression of consensus among a group. As the medium for a message, photographs serve as a form of rhetoric or polemic.

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