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. Fenton's "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" is unique for which of the following reasons?

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

3. How many images did the "Here Is New York" exhibit originally receive?

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

5. Sontag claims that Jacques Callot's 1633 painting, "The Miseries and Misfortunes of War" was unprecedented for which of the following reasons?

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss Sontag's assertion that some images serve as memento mori. What does she mean? How do they serve this purpose?

2. According to Sontag, why is there no museum dedicated to the victims of the slave trade?

3. Why did the people of Sarajevo object to having scenes of their war represented alongside scenes of the conflict in Somalia?

4. 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?

5. Discuss the controversy surrounding the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. What was the main conflict?

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. How does Sontag refute claims that photography is somehow inherently more voyeuristic than other forms of observation?

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

9. Discuss the photograph that Georges Batailles kept on his desk. Why does Sontag discuss this particular photograph?

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

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Media coverage of the Vietnam War produced a mass outcry against war, while the media coverage of 9/11 produced more divergent effects on individuals. What do you think accounts for this difference? Is it perhaps the difference between a far-off conflict and an attack at "home"? Is it perhaps something in the nature of the wars themselves? Is it the difference in media coverage? Or is it something altogether different? Defend your position with evidence and support.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Sontag discussed image-glut and image-flow extensively in this essay. Do you agree with her assertions that the modern world contains a plethora of disturbing or horrific images? Evaluate her argument regarding the effects of image-glut and propose your own. How does the influx of war photographs affect the viewer? Are viewers more prone to apathy because of the quantity of images? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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