Regarding the Pain of Others Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. According to Sontag, why do images of atrocities fail to convey a singular, universal message?
(a) They are inappropriate for mass publication.
(b) They inspire only disgust.
(c) They are too graphic.
(d) They require context and explanation.

2. At the end of World War II, a group of journalists formed Magnum Photo Agency. Which of the following photographers was not among them?
(a) David Seymour.
(b) Henri Cartier-Bresson.
(c) Robert Capa.
(d) Ernst Friedrich.

3. Paraphrasing Woolf, Sontag states that the privileged class fails to respond to images of war with the appropriate pain. She describes this as a:
(a) Failure of empathy and imagination.
(b) Failure of ignorance.
(c) Failure of wealth.
(d) Failure to behave humanely.

4. Sontag argues that the most extensive kind of censorship is which of the following?
(a) The self-censorship of broadcast companies.
(b) The censorship implied by public sensibility.
(c) Military censorship.
(d) Government censorship.

5. Images of the Gulf War were filtered to portray the "techno war." The public was exposed to only those images that portrayed which of the following sentiments?
(a) Wondrous technological advancements.
(b) American military mercy.
(c) American military superiority over the enemy.
(d) Savagery of conventional warfare, compared to American techno war.

Short Answer Questions

1. Noting the long history of the "iconography of suffering," Sontag lists three types of art which depict incredible agony. Which of the following is NOT one of them?

2. In interpreting photographs, Sontag claims that everyone approaches the image as which of the following?

3. Which was the first war to be "covered" by professional war journalists at the front lines?

4. Sontag mentions many factors which influence the way audiences receive war photography. Which of the following was NOT one of those factors?

5. The protagonist of J'Accuse, the 1938 anti-war film, cries out which of the following in German and in English?

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss one way in which the development of technology during and after the Vietnam War has affected the veracity of photographs.

2. Discuss the significance of the Magnum Photo Agency, founded in Paris in 1947. What was the group initially founded to do? How did they influence the development of photojournalism?

3. Sontag stated that the photographer's intentions do not determine the message of the photograph. Discuss the contributing factors which influence the reception of photographs in the media.

4. Discuss the controversy surrounding the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. What was the main conflict?

5. Explain the connection Sontag made between religious narratives and iconography and the Western understanding of images of suffering. Discuss at least one example from the text.

6. Why do images of pain challenge us to look without flinching? According to Sontag, what purpose does this serve?

7. Sontag identified two types of censorship which affect war photography. Describe both types of censorship. Which is most influential?

8. Sontag compared the photograph to a maxim or a proverb. Explain this comparison. What does it tell us about the nature or impact of photographs?

9. 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?

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

(see the answer keys)

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