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. Sontag suggests that a catastrophic event that is experienced in real life. . .

2. Sontag notes that at the time Virginia Woolf wrote "Three Guineas," war journalism was different than it is now. How was it different?

3. Sontag describes a famous photograph from the Spanish Civil War in which two things occur simultaneously. What are those two things?

4. Sontag lists which of the following as images that the artist "takes"?

5. The media may inform the public of war crimes and atrocities, but often fails to capture the:

Short Essay Questions

1. Sontag suggests that the same photograph might elicit "opposing responses." Discussing a specific example, explain how this might be possible.

2. Discuss the reaction of the British public to the image of trenches of unburied bodies taken 10 days after a British defeat during the Boer War. What does this reaction say about the sensibility of the public?

3. Sontag agrees with Woolf's assertion that the educated class has failed to understand war. How is this a failure of empathy or imagination?

4. According to Sontag, do people prefer artistic renderings or straight-forward representations of atrocities? Why?

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

6. Using the example of genocides and AIDS in Africa, Sontag argued that images of suffering in far-off places carry a double meaning. What is this double meaning?

7. Explain Sontag's objection to the idea that a news broadcasting program can "give you the world." Why did she argue that compressing world news into broadcasted programming is bad?

8. Sontag discussed the captions to Goya's "Los Desastres de la Guerra" (The Disasters of War). Explain the significance of these messages to the viewer. How do these captions affect the impact of the image?

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

10. Explain the significance of Jacques Callot's 1633 series of etchings titled "Les Miseres et les Malheurs de la Guerra" (The Miseries and Misfortunes of War). Why did Sontag discuss this work?

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

Sontag asserted that acknowledging the human capacity for unthinkable cruelty is a step toward intellectual and moral maturity. Do you agree? Why or why not? Further, why is intellectual or moral maturity a desirable outcome of war photography? How does this new-found maturity benefit the world? Is this perhaps vital to the production of a functional society? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Sontag suggested that galleries as venues for war photography and images of atrocity may not produce the proper reverence for the subjects and their suffering. Her main contention was with the environment which cultivates casual interest. Do you agree? Does displaying images of atrocities in public places diminish their effect? Are we, as Sontag suggests, less likely to linger and contemplate? Support your discussion with evidence and relevant analysis.

(see the answer keys)

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