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 claims that Bataille could see extreme pain as a form of __________.

2. Sontag suggests that photographs do NOT ask which of the following tasks of the viewers?

3. In discussing images that remind us of death, Sontag references a particular 1943 photograph. What is the subject of this photograph?

4. What sentiment concludes the book?

5. Sontag presents her own objection to Salgado's "Migrations." Why does Sontag criticize Salgado's work?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. According to Sontag, how does Goya's "The Disasters of War" differ from most depictions of mutilated and tortured bodies?

3. Why does Sontag say that "it is not necessarily better to be moved?" Discuss the negative aspects of sentimentality.

4. Sontag asserts that many people become frustrated by their inability to act on the images of suffering they see in the media. What does this frustration often become?

5. Sontag discusses the emergence of apathy and cynicism toward war. According to her discussion, what feeling underlies cynicism about war and atrocity? What is the purpose of this cynicism?

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

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

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

9. 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.

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

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

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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