Unit3 Post2-River Meng

Sontag Chapter 1 Summary: In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf challenged her readers this notion of “we” after being asked, “how in your opinion are we to prevent war”? Sontag then continued on this subject and reasoned that viewers with different identities can come up with different feelings when looking at horrifying war pictures. Sontag concluded the paragraph by almost mocking artists who believe that if the horror could be made vivid enough, most people would take in the insanity of the war. She listed several of these artists and sarcastically ended the paragraph with the sentence “and the following year the war came”. 

Sontag Chapter 1 Description: Identity/context matters when a viewer looks at a picture.

Sontag Chapter 2 Summary: Sontag started the chapter using the examples from Plato’s Republic Edmund Burke, and Georges Bataille to testify that people sometimes enjoy looking from far away(like in a photograph) at other people’s suffering. She then went on to talk about compassion or sympathy is an unstable emotion which needs to be translated into action for it not to die. She ventured to call sympathy an impertinent if not inappropriate response because it proclaim our innocence as well as impotence. 

Sontag Chapter 2 Description: According to Sontag, if we set aside sympathy, we are more able to be connected to people’s suffering.

Sontag Chapter 3 Summary: Sontag argued that remembering is an ethical act, therefore, to make peace is to forget and to reconcile is to have limited memory. She then claimed that the frustration we get when looking at pictures depicting atrocity is translated into an “accusation of indecency” of regarding such images. 

Sontag Chapter 3 Description: Even though it seems there is something morally wrong with simply looking at pictures depicting atrocities, Sontag is telling us that there’s nothingh wrong with that. 

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