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. U.S. bombing of Afghanistan was conducted remotely from which of the following locations?

2. Sontag discusses one year in European history in which the photograph was able to truly capture the nature of human atrocities. Which year was it?

3. The conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s stood out to many onlookers for which of the following reasons?

4. Which of the following was NOT true of the "Here Is New York" exhibit?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the reaction of the British public to the image of trenches of unburied bodies taken 10 days after a British defeat during the Boer War. What does this reaction say about the sensibility of the public?

2. 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?

3. According to Sontag, how do mass Hollywood productions influence the public's perception of catastrophic or horrific events?

4. Discuss the purpose of Virginia Woolf's "Three Guineas" as explained by Sontag, and explain why Sontag opens her book with this reference.

5. Explain the purpose of photography collections such as Ernst Friedrich's "Krieg dem Kriege!" (War Against War!), and discuss how these works attempt to achieve this end.

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

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

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

9. 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?

10. 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.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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