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 discusses the use of images of the dead to bolster hatred of the enemy. Which of the following recent events, aired on the Al Jazeera network, does she use as an example?

2. Faced with "information overload," people remember a photograph because it is a quick way of storing information, much like which of the following strategies?

3. Ultimately, Sontag claims that war is:

4. According to Sontag, _________ also influences the public's perception of war.

5. Restrictions on media coverage of the British campaign in the Falklands was notable for which of the following reasons?

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. According to Sontag, how does a photograph in the news media differ from a written account? How does the audience change?

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

4. 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.

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

6. Discuss the significance of the Magnum Photo Agency, founded in Paris in 1947. What was the group initially founded to do? How did they influence the development of photojournalism?

7. What did Sontag mean when she claimed that the memory of war is mostly local? What does this mean for international news firms?

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

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

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 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.

Essay Topic 2

Sontag's book focused, in part, on the ethical or moral ramifications of witnessing war. In particular, she explored the ethics of war representations which capture "full frontal" images of the suffering of others, but almost always shy away from such graphic depictions of the suffering of people like the anticipated audience. Do you agree that this tendency exists in photojournalism? Why or why not?

If you think it does, is there an ethical dilemma inherent in this unbalanced depiction?

If you think it does not, discuss how and why the news media avoid this. Provide examples to counter those Sontag provides.

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.

(see the answer keys)

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