Regarding the Pain of Others Test | Final 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. In order to take pleasure in suffering, Sontag argues that one must necessarily have which of the following?
(a) A sense of moral or intellectual superiority.
(b) Distance from the source of suffering.
(c) Deep seated feelings of misanthropy.
(d) A sadistic streak characteristic of serial killers.

2. Which of the following phrases does Sontag use to refer to items which allow us to remember or think on death?
(a) Emblems of suffering.
(b) Memorabilia.
(c) Memento mori.
(d) Photography.

3. Georges Bataille, famous for his studies of the erotic, kept which of the following images on his desk?
(a) A photograph of the statue of David.
(b) A photograph of the Chinese torture "the death of a hundred cuts".
(c) A painting of the bombing of Guernica.
(d) A famous pornographic image, taken in late19th century France.

4. Sontag discusses another common belief regarding media coverage of an event, and suggested that it may seem to contradict the first common belief she addresses. What is this second idea?
(a) Repeated images in the media exhaust our ability to prevent new atrocities.
(b) Overexposure to images in the media makes people callous.
(c) The media sensationalizes stories of atrocity.
(d) Limited exposure diminishes the impact the images have on an audience.

5. Sontag suggests that it is still possible to "feel the pulse of Christian iconography" in much war photography. Which famous work of art does she suggest can be seen in W. Eugene Smith's photograph of the woman in Minamata cradling her child?
(a) Descent from the Cross.
(b) The Passion of Christ.
(c) The Last Supper.
(d) The Pieta.

Short Answer Questions

1. Recounting a conversation with a Sarajevan woman, Sontag claims that when people are safe, they will feel which of the following toward atrocities committed abroad?

2. Sontag claims that shock used for rhetorical purposes can become _________.

3. Although Sontag is pessimistic about the broad effects of atrocity photographs, she did mention one positive outcome. What was it?

4. The West had a long tradition of viewing war as which of the following?

5. In portraying horrors, Leonardo da Vinci encouraged artists to be:

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the photograph that Georges Batailles kept on his desk. Why does Sontag discuss this particular photograph?

2. Sontag claims that there is a difference between finding beauty in artistic representations of war and finding beauty in photographs of war. What is the difference?

3. Why does Sontag say that "it is not necessarily better to be moved?" Discuss the negative aspects of sentimentality.

4. In her discussion of the emotional impact of artistic renderings of suffering, Sontag referrs to Kabuki or Bunraku plays. What are these plays? Why does Sontag include this example?

5. According to Sontag, why is there no museum dedicated to the victims of the slave trade?

6. According to Sontag, how does Goya's "The Disasters of War" differ from most depictions of mutilated and tortured bodies?

7. According to Sontag, designating a hell is not enough; yet, she suggests that this ability to name an atrocity does accomplish something. What does this accomplish? What is the point of naming an atrocity an atrocity?

8. Although there are more images broadcast, Sontag suggests that the human response to suffering is relatively unchanged. Discuss Sontag's views on our capacity for dealing with suffering.

9. Discuss the significance of the photograph's intended purpose. If a photograph is intended to convey a message, but because of the context in which it is displayed does not, is the photograph still successful?

10. Sontag discusses the emergence of apathy and cynicism toward war. According to her discussion, what feeling underlies cynicism about war and atrocity? What is the purpose of this cynicism?

(see the answer keys)

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