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

2. Sontag notes that images of war most significantly influenced which of the following groups?

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

4. Which of the following included close-up images of soldiers wounded by war in his/her 1938 film?

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?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Discuss the significance of Eddie Adams' photograph of the execution of a suspected Vietcong agent. What did Sontag say was particularly striking about this image and the circumstances of its creation?

4. Explain how being a "spectator of calamities" occurring in far-off places is a "quintessentially modern experience."

5. According to Sontag, how are standards for journalism determined in an era of tele-controlled warfare?

6. Sontag distinguished between "image makers" and "image takers". What is the difference between these two groups of artists? How are they perceived differently?

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

9. 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.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout Sontag's argument, gender norms and expectations emerge as contributing factors in the way individuals receive images. How does Sontag treat these gendered expectations? Do you agree with Sontag's assertions on this issue? Why or why not? Discuss the differences in the ways men and women receive photographs of war and atrocity as well as the way publishing companies think about their audiences in terms of gender.

Essay Topic 2

Are images sufficient to provoke anti-war sentiment? Sontag ultimately concluded that photographs alone could not achieve this end. Do you agree or disagree? Are some images striking, shocking, horrifying, or compelling enough to effect change? Do some of Sontag's examples, such as the coverage of the Vietnam War, work for or against her assertion?

Essay Topic 3

In her argument about representation, Sontag also addressed the significance and ethics of censorship. It would seem that standards of good taste or propriety are fairly often at odds with the constitutionally protected freedom of the press. Delve into the issue of censorship. Are there instances in which censorship is the ethical choice? If so, when? If not, why not? Need public interest and censorship be at odds? Or, is censorship designed with public interest in mind? Defend your position with ample support and specific examples.

(see the answer keys)

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