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. Using the example of Ground Zero, Sontag argues that photographs have the power to do which of the following to their subject?

2. Although Sontag is pessimistic about the broad effects of atrocity photographs, she did mention one positive outcome. What was it?

3. Which Dreiser novel does Sontag reference in the final chapter?

4. What does Sontag claim as our only connection with the dead?

5. Andy Warhol silk screened which of the following images of war as his only direct statement about the atrocity of war?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Sontag mean when she said that photographs transform?

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

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

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

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

7. 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.

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

9. 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.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Sontag also traced the relationship between the presence of the press and the practice of war-making. In one example, she discussed the execution of a suspected Vietcong soldier by Brigadier General Loan, suggesting that the execution was a performance for the photographer present on the scene. Does media coverage affect the waging of war? Are journalists neutral and uninvolved? Discuss the relationship between journalists' presence and soldiers' behavior. Provide specific examples.

(see the answer keys)

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