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 calls for the reader's sympathy for the wounded Taliban soldier whose pain graced the cover of "The New York Times" by suggesting which of the following?

2. Recalling traditions of the 16th and 17th century, Sontag claims that printing images of dark-skinned people in moments of suffering or pain is part of a long tradition of which of the following?

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

4. According to Sontag, why do images of atrocities fail to convey a singular, universal message?

5. Which of the following is true about representations of the dead or dying in American media?

Short Essay Questions

1. Sontag asserted that "cameras have always kept company with death." What did she mean by this assertion?

2. 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.

3. Why does Sontag refer to the argument that image-glut desensitizes us to images of suffering as "conservative"?

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

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. 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?

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

8. What is unusual about Wall's "Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol near Moqor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986)?" Discuss two aspects of the work that separate it from others like it.

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

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Sontag suggested that specific memory of atrocities may be detrimental to peace efforts. Is this necessarily true? Is there a way in which memories and memorials might contribute to establishing and maintaining peace? If so, how? If not, why not?

Essay Topic 2

Sontag began her discussion with an analysis of Virginia Woolf's book, "Three Guineas." Woolf's analysis of war and gender was a significant source throughout Sontag's argument. Read Woolf's "Three Guineas" and discuss your reaction to Woolf's argument. Did you agree with Woolf or Sontag? Or, perhaps, both, in some way? How did your assessment of Woolf's argument differ from Sontag's? Did you agree with Sontag's assertion that Woolf's text is somewhat dated in its discussion of war photography?

Essay Topic 3

Why might a group of people be more sensitive to images of its members in pain? For instance, why might Americans be more sensitive to images of American citizens in pain? Why, do you think, people are less sensitive to the suffering of "others" outside their own social, cultural, or national grouping?

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