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 lists which of the following as images that the artist "makes"?

2. Sontag argues that the most extensive kind of censorship is which of the following?

3. A heated debate emerged when a weekly paper in Boston ran a video of which American journalist's execution in Pakistan?

4. Sontag compares the desire for images of people in pain to which other recurrent type of image?

5. 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?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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.

2. Sontag compared the photograph to a maxim or a proverb. Explain this comparison. What does it tell us about the nature or impact of photographs?

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

4. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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