Sontag, Susan. “Regarding the Pain of Others”. Caroline Shrodes, et.al, Eds. The Conscious Reader. Boston: Longman P. 2012.
In Sontags article she is trying to explain why we humans are so interested in pain or violence being brought upon other people to where we find it as being somewhat amusing and are aroused by this occurrence. When we encounter an event of pain and suffering we tend to keep watching and hope the event furthers instead of just looking away. The viewing of a photograph that involves these things makes a person attempt to imagine what the feeling would be like. On page 44 Sontag states, “One should feel obliged to think about what it means to look at them, about the capacity actually to assimilate what they show” (44). It seems Sontag is expressing that we may not want to come across a cruel event but once we do we feel like we have to understand why this it happening. We try to feel what the victims are feeling even though we are just looking at a photograph. On page 46, Sontag argues that people are often unable to take in the sufferings of those close to them (46). We do not have a problem with hearing or viewing the pain in those who we do not know, yet if it were someone close to you it would be unbearable. When something bad is occurring farther away it is easier to just ignore it and move on. On the other hand, when it is occurring in front of you or to someone you know that will most likely be all you are focused on. For someone who ignores the situation it might be easier to not think of why we are so attracted to pain in others.
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