Regarding the Pain of Others Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Sontag, photographs of atrocities are best received if they are:

2. Sontag claims that "good taste" is always _________ when invoked by institutions.

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

4. After World War I, the general public thought of the War as:

5. Which of the following pairs of images appeared side-by-side in a 1937 issue of "Life"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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.

4. Discuss the significance of the photograph's intended purpose. If a photograph is intended to convey a message, but because of the context in which it is displayed does not, is the photograph still successful?

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

6. 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?

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

9. Sontag discusses two widespread ideas about the influence of photography. Sontag notes that the second idea might seem to be the converse of the first. What is the second idea? Discuss the second idea using support from the book.

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Although the public often reacts with disappointment or even outrage upon learning that a moving image has been staged, is there anything inherently less true about an image staged for a photograph than there is in a still life composed for a painting? Does a photograph need to capture spontaneous truth as it unfolds in order to have any validity. Provide support for your argument and discuss relevant examples.

Essay Topic 3

Sontag drew parallels between photography and voyeurism, as well as war photography and pornography. How do you feel about these comparisons? Explore these connections using images of your own. Is there, in fact, a similar feeling evoked by both images? Can something repulsive be beautiful? Can something beautiful be repulsive?

(see the answer keys)

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