Regarding the Pain of Others Test | Final 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. According to Sontag, people are less responsive to images of violence in which of the following contexts?

2. Recounting a conversation with a Sarajevan woman, Sontag claims that when people are safe, they will feel which of the following toward atrocities committed abroad?

3. Which sense did the ancient Greeks consider superior?

4. Although images were more prevalent, which of the following was NOT also true?

5. "Without Sanctuary" was a book of photographs taken of which of the following atrocities?

Short Essay Questions

1. Sontag proposes that perhaps we place too much value on memory. What does she mean? Why does she posit this?

2. 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?

3. Sontag suggests that there is a rise of sadism in contemporary culture. Discuss this assertion using specific examples.

4. What is unusual about Wall's "Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol near Moqor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986)?" Discuss two aspects of the work that separate it from others like it.

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

6. 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.

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

8. Why does Sontag refer to the argument that image-glut desensitizes us to images of suffering as "conservative"?

9. Sontag claims that there is a difference between finding beauty in artistic representations of war and finding beauty in photographs of war. What is the difference?

10. Describe the scene which Sontag refers to as the first description of bodies in anguish and identify the source of this description.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sontag asserted that perceptions of pain have changed in the modern world. She cited religious narratives and iconography to support her assertion that traditionally pain was seen as a form of sacrifice or trial through which one was rewarded, then discussed the shift in modern society in which pain is perceived as punishment for or consequence of one's actions. Do you agree? Has there been a change in the way "we" perceive suffering? If you agree, what might account for this shift? If you disagree, what evidence can you cite to support your point?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Sontag suggested that galleries as venues for war photography and images of atrocity may not produce the proper reverence for the subjects and their suffering. Her main contention was with the environment which cultivates casual interest. Do you agree? Does displaying images of atrocities in public places diminish their effect? Are we, as Sontag suggests, less likely to linger and contemplate? Support your discussion with evidence and relevant analysis.

(see the answer keys)

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