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 cites one of her earlier books published in 1977. Which of the following is it?

2. Sontag claims that witnessing atrocity through images is not much different than witnessing them in person. What does she say these activities had in common?

3. 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?

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

5. Sontag insists that images may be ineffective; however, they do serve one basic and significant function. What is that function?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. 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?

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

6. 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?

7. 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.

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

9. Why is a museum, in Sontag's opinion, an inappropriate place to display atrocity photographs?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sontag drew parallels between photography and voyeurism, as well as war photography and pornography. How do you feel about these comparisons? Explore these connections using images of your own. Is there, in fact, a similar feeling evoked by both images? Can something repulsive be beautiful? Can something beautiful be repulsive?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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