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English 10 Honors: American Literature
English 12/LIT 115
AP English Language and Composition/ENG 121 » In Plato's Cave by Susan Sontag


In Plato's Cave by Susan Sontag In Plato's Cave by Susan Sontag
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“In Plato’s Cave” by Susan Sontag

 

1.               Discuss the opening paragraph.  In what ways does it prepare readers for the rest of the essay?  Discuss Sontag’s word choice of “unregenerately” in the allusion to “The Allegory of the Cave.”  To what does she equate “the cave” by using an appositive?  Discuss the next-to-last line.  Is her allusion to Plato’s cave effective?  Why or why not?

 

2.               What is the scheme Sontag employs in the opening sentences of paragraphs 2 and 3?  What other schemes does she employ in paragraph 2?  Discuss their effects.

 

3.               Discuss the language Sontag uses in relating print and photographic media.  How does this contribute to the conclusion she makes in paragraph 3.

 

4.               Compare and contrast the purpose of paragraphs 2 and 3 with 4 and 5.

 

5.               Why does she place a break in the essay between paragraphs 5 and 6?

 

6.               What is the rhetorical significance of this parallel construction: “the camera record incriminates…the camera record justifies” in paragraph 6?

 

7.               What is the rhetorical effect of the parallel construction in the first sentence of paragraph 7?  Why does she use the word “transparency”?

 

8.               How does she define “narrowly shady commerce between art and truth”?

 

9.               Discuss how she draws the conclusion articulated in the last sentence of paragraph 7?

 

10.           What does she mean by “democratize all experience” in paragraph 8?

 

11.           Discuss the rhetorical effect of the anadiplosis in paragraph 9.

 

12.           Discuss the rhetorical effect of the antimetabole in paragraph 10.

 

13.           What is Sontag’s thesis?  How do you know?

 

14.           What assumptions does Sontag make in her essay?  

 



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