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

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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. The Brady war pictures were taken of which of the following wars?

2. Photographic representations of the Vietnam War was essential to promoting:

3. Which of the following images was often thought to represent a mother, looking tellingly into the sky during an air raid of the Spanish Civil War?

4. Sontag discusses a famous series of photographs taken by Tyler Hicks, titled "A Nation Challenged." What does this series depict?

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. What does Sontag mean when she said that photographs transform?

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?

3. 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?

4. Discuss the significance of "Here is New York," the exhibit of photographs taken on September 11th during the collapse of the World Trade Center.

5. Sontag suggests that there is a rise of sadism in contemporary culture. Discuss this assertion using specific examples.

6. Why is a museum, in Sontag's opinion, an inappropriate place to display atrocity photographs?

7. How do captions sway interpretations of images? Discuss one of the examples Sontag provides in Chapter 1.

8. Ultimately, Sontag notes that to discuss the desensitization of all television viewers is a provincial move, at best. Why does she argue this?

9. Discuss Sontag's assertion that some images serve as memento mori. What does she mean? How do they serve this purpose?

10. How did war journalism change during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)? How did the coverage of this war more closely resemble modern media coverage of conflicts?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sontag asserted that perceptions of pain have changed in the modern world. She cited religious narratives and iconography to support her assertion that traditionally pain was seen as a form of sacrifice or trial through which one was rewarded, then discussed the shift in modern society in which pain is perceived as punishment for or consequence of one's actions. Do you agree? Has there been a change in the way "we" perceive suffering? If you agree, what might account for this shift? If you disagree, what evidence can you cite to support your point?

Essay Topic 2

On witnessing suffering in a photograph, are we morally or ethically obligated to be emotionally moved? Sontag suggested that perhaps the viewer should not feel ashamed for not feeling a reaction. Do you agree or disagree? Support your position with a discussion of the ethics of witnessing suffering from such a distance.

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the book, Sontag discussed various photography exhibits centered on tragedies and atrocities. Some examples include the "Here is New York" exhibit following the attack on the World Trade Center and an exhibit on lynchings of African Americans in the South during the early 20th century. Sontag argued that, at times, museum exhibits are not the most appropriate venue for images of atrocity because they allow casual observers to pass by images without giving them due reverence. Do you agree with Sontag's argument regarding museum exhibits throughout the book? Why or why not? Be sure to provide evidence to support your discussion of this type of representation.

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