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. Who took the infamous image of Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong suspect in the street?

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

3. The Brady war pictures were taken of which of the following wars?

4. Audiences may question the veracity of photographs because:

5. In interpreting photographs, Sontag claims that everyone approaches the image as which of the following?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

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

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

6. Explain Sontag's objection to the idea that a news broadcasting program can "give you the world." Why did she argue that compressing world news into broadcasted programming is bad?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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