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. Sontag suggests that it is still possible to "feel the pulse of Christian iconography" in much war photography. Which famous work of art does she suggest can be seen in W. Eugene Smith's photograph of the woman in Minamata cradling her child?

2. Sontag cites William Hazlitt's claim that sympathy is no more a part of human nature than is which of the following?

3. Sontag notes that although museums remembering atrocities are common practice, there is no museum in the United States dedicated to which of the following atrocities?

4. Georges Bataille, famous for his studies of the erotic, kept which of the following images on his desk?

5. Modern society, Sontag argues, is a "society of _______".

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

3. Sontag discusses Sebastiao Salgado's series entitled "Migrations: Humanity in Transition" and points out one very problematic effect of the series. Discuss this effect.

4. Although there are more images broadcast, Sontag suggests that the human response to suffering is relatively unchanged. Discuss Sontag's views on our capacity for dealing with suffering.

5. Ultimately, Sontag notes that to discuss the desensitization of all television viewers is a provincial move, at best. Why does she argue this?

6. Sontag claims that a book is still the best medium for circulating images of atrocity. Name the three reasons she provides.

7. Sontag suggests that Wall's work affirms the normalcy of war. How so?

8. 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?

9. In her discussion of the emotional impact of artistic renderings of suffering, Sontag referrs to Kabuki or Bunraku plays. What are these plays? Why does Sontag include this example?

10. How does our contemporary view of suffering differ from earlier, more traditional Western views?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sontag asserted that acknowledging the human capacity for unthinkable cruelty is a step toward intellectual and moral maturity. Do you agree? Why or why not? Further, why is intellectual or moral maturity a desirable outcome of war photography? How does this new-found maturity benefit the world? Is this perhaps vital to the production of a functional society? Why or why not?

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

Sontag began her discussion with an analysis of Virginia Woolf's book, "Three Guineas." Woolf's analysis of war and gender was a significant source throughout Sontag's argument. Read Woolf's "Three Guineas" and discuss your reaction to Woolf's argument. Did you agree with Woolf or Sontag? Or, perhaps, both, in some way? How did your assessment of Woolf's argument differ from Sontag's? Did you agree with Sontag's assertion that Woolf's text is somewhat dated in its discussion of war photography?

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