Chapter 9 – In The Far Distance

Part 1

During pages 132-140 the light represents Hope. It completely changes his view on his situation. In an instant, Joe’s mentality goes from scared, worn out and hopeless to optimistic, energized and excited. To Joe, it represents the possibility that he might live. It makes Joe immediately spring into action and try and get himself unstuck. “I was going to reach that sunbeam. I knew it then with absolute certainty.”

Part 2

During pages 141-142 the ‘voice’ represents Joe’s innermost conscience. It shows us that Joe is completely mentally worn out. It does this because it is the only that is controlling his action and telling him what to do, the rest of his brain is in turmoil. The ‘voice’ is Joe’s survival instinct the ‘voice’ is the only thing that keeps him functioning although it is at the most basic level. “A voice in my head told me that this was true, cutting through the jumble in my mind with its coldly rational sound. It was as if there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions. The other mind rambled out a disconnected series of images, and memories and hopes, which I attended to in a daydream state as I set about obeying the orders of the  of the voice.” “The voice told me exactly how to go about it, and I obeyed while my other mind jumped abstractedly from one idea to another.”

Chapter 8 – Silent Witness

“It was a lonely place to rest. In the huge chaos of the moraines, I had sat down to rest at the one spot where I would be reminded. We had sat in the same spot six days earlier. All our keen excitement, and the healthy strong feel in our bodies, had become an empty memory.”

The mood in this section is sad. This is because Simon is thinking back to before the accent of the mountain and feeling upset about the events that had happened during their climb. This is created by the use of ’empty memory’ this makes it feel that the feeling of happiness and excitement has been replaced because of the events that have taken place on the mountain. The tone of the writer is reflective. This is because Simon is reflecting on the events that happened before the climb.

“If I hadn’t cut the rope I would have certainly died. Looking at the cliff, I knew there would be no surviving such a fall. Yet, having saved myself, I was now going to return home and tell people a story that a few would ever believe. No one cuts the rope! It could never be that bad! Why didn’t you do this, or try that? I could hear the questions, and see the doubts in the eyes even of those who accepted my story. It was bizarre, and it was cruel. I had been on to a loser from the moment he broke his leg, and nothing could have changed it.”

The mood in this section is worried. This is because Simon is going to have to return home and tell people about the cutting of the rope and he is worried about how they will respond. The tone of the writer is angry. This is because Simon is angry about how he tried his hardest to get Joe off the mountain and managed to save himself  but he is going to return home and be criticized.


Chapter 7 – Shadows In The Ice

Part 1

Joe use’s contrast during this section to portray that his mind is constantly chopping, changing and jumping all over the place. It shows us that Joe has accepted his fate and that as his circumstances change so does his acceptance. For example, earlier in the text Joe say’s that “I accepted that I was to die. There was no alternative.”, but as the chapter progresses his viewpoint changes “Simon…I couldn’t conceive of him dead, not now, not after I’ve survived.”.  Contrast is also used to show how conflicted and confused Joe was before, during, and after the rope was cut. It shows is that Joe was not thinking straight as his perception of the events and his surroundings are changing all most constantly. When Joe awakes at the bottom of the crevasse he is excited and happy “Alive! … and I laughed again, a real happy laugh.” but Joe quickly becomes distressed “I stopped laughing abruptly. My chest tightened, and the tension took over me.”

Part 2

When Joe pulls on the rope and it comes down cut it adversely affects Joe’s mental state. Immediately after Joe pulled down the rope he proceeded to cry and had a sort of mental break down. “I cried in bursts, and between them listened to the childlike sounds fade beneath me, then cried again.” The rope being cut also separated Joe and Simon’s fate it left them to their own means and each with their own obstacles to overcome. This sort of kick starts Joe into trying to take his life into his own hands.

Chapter 6 – “The Final Choice”

Part 1

Some of the problems that Joe and Simon faced as Joe where that they were only able to descend straight down, this meant that they could not change their line of decent easily as they would have to make flow traverses sideways. Another problem was that Joe’s leg kept getting stuck in the snow, which caused him even greater discomfort. The seats that Simon lowered Joe from caused further problems, as they only just lasted long enough for Joe to be lowered one rope (300 feet) length. “It had been quite impossible to descend in a diagonal line to the right. Gravity had turned me into a dead weight and no amount of scrabbling against the snow with ice axes had prevented a plumb vertical descent.” “… I concentrated on keeping my leg clear of the snow. It was an impossible task.”

Part 2

Joe uses minor sentences to recreate tension during pages 94-95. They show us that Joe is thinking in short bursts that only barely make sense due to tiredness, his injury and the fact that he has adrenaline running through his system. We can tell this because if Joe had been in a complete functioning state then he wouldn’t have been talking in short irregular outburst, he would be speaking in fully formed sentences. This shows us that Simon and Joe are not functioning physically, mentally or emotionally anywhere near to 100% of there capacity and this adds to the tension during this section as we are thinking about things they, Simon and Joe, could have done differently that they didn’t or couldn’t think of.

Part 3

There are multiple factors that influenced Simons decision to cut the rope. One of the main factors that influenced his decision was the cold, because of the cold he had frostbite which meant he couldn’t hold the rope properly, the cold also reduced his strength this meant that he couldn’t hold the rope properly and for as long. Another factor would have been exhaustion because Simon had already lowered Joe around 2700 feet he was worn out already this meant what little he could have done differently, he was not able to. The factor that ultimately forced Simon to cut the rope was the fact that the belay seat started to collapse this kicked Simon into action to save his own life it was ultimately the only thing that caused him to cut the rope as he was only acting on instinct. It was important to include Simons perspective in this section for two reasons. One it gives us insight into what events happened to Simon that caused the rope to be cut, and secondly it is to show everyone else that Simon did everything in his power to save Joe right up until he no longer could, this is so that people who were not there understood Simons actions and forgive him, or at least leave him alone.

Writing a Formal Response (Point Paragraph)

State your point/topic (first sentence): Simons narration is significant in “Disaster-Chapter 5”
Expand with relevant background detailSimons narration is told through Joe’s perspective, however Simon validated Joe’s account as “fair and correct.” Simons “voice” reveals that he resented Joe’s injury and that he felt justified in distancing himself from Joe.
Examples(specific): The text states “…” The reader is told “…” It is revealed “…” Words like “…” This selected text “…” Tells us “…”
Response (Your Response) – What does the reader learn? – What does the reader think/visualize/feel? – What connections can the reader make to other experiences or contexts? – What is the overall purpose/message? : The reader understands from this narration that Simon is calculating the value of his life against Joe’s. he also treats the situation logically and considers the “odd’s” of their survival, if Joe is assisted down the mountain. This presents an interesting reality about human nature: should we risk our own life for others? When does our relationship or commitment to a person end? Is it excusable to relinquish responsibility when we are endangered ourselves?  

Chapter 5 – “Disaster”

Part 1
Emotive Language
Joe uses emotive language to helps us understand what the events were like by linking them to our past experiences. Example “…bones splitting…” this gives us the idea that his bones are being split apart, like when wood is cut. This is to show us how Joe’s knee broke, it also tells us that joe is becoming more detached from the leg, speaking about it more abstractly and that it is becoming a nuisance.
Joe uses metaphor throughout this passage to help us understand what he is feeling by linking it to something else. Example “…a fierce burning fire coming down the inside of my thigh…” this is comparing burning to the pain that Joe is experiencing. It is comparing fire to his pain, fire is consuming, and extremely painful and intense, this tells us that the pain Joe is feeling is completely consuming and very intense.
Narrator Voice
The narrator voice during this passage is first person, omniscient (all-knowing). This gives us full insight into what Joe was feeling in this passage as we are given all details.

Part 2
The purpose of including Simons perspective after Joe falls is to give us insight into Simons thoughts and perspective, and not just Joes speculation into what Simon is thinking.
“… I accepted without question that I could get off the mountain alone. I had no doubt about it.” “I watched him quite dispassionately.” “In a way I hoped he would fall.” “I knew I couldn’t leave him while he was still fighting for it, but I had no idea how I might help him.”
Simons narration foreshadows that joe will fall by repeatedly hinting to joe disappearing and falling. He also hints at the fact that he will leave the mountain on his own, and that he will not hesitate to if he needs to.

What Would I Do?

I would largely have done the same as Simon did, I would’ve helped as much as I could. However, I would have done some things differently. I would still have belayed Joe off the mountain but I would have kept the snow stake to use as an anchor. I would also have dug a snow cave to stay the night when it got dark. If I ended up in the same situation, having to cut the rope, I would have tried to change belay devices or anchored the rope. If this was not possible then the most likely scenario is that I would cut the rope.

Chapter 4 – “On the Edge”

On the Edge

The Pun

This pun is used well to summarize the events in the chapter because of its two meanings. The first meaning is that Joe and Simon are literally on an edge, that they are on a ridge line. The second meaning is that Joe and Simon are near the end of their abilities, strength and supplies, they are close to losing control and potentially die, or fall of the edge. This summarize the chapter well because throughout the chapter the come closer and closer to losing control, they have multiple falls and sketchy moments that they barely make it through.



The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. The gas stove running out of fuel symbolism that Joe and Simon are running out of time and energy. It shows us Simon and Joe are moving closer and closer towards failure, accident, or maybe death.

Reaching the Summit of Siula Grande

These lines were included give us a look into Joe’s thoughts and his psyche. This passage reveals that Joe has doubts about his ability, and his purpose. It shows us that Joe feels like he has no control over his direction, and where his life is going. He feels as if the mountains controll him, not directly but that he needs them for satisfaction, but he will never be satisfied because there will always be a bigger challenge. The quote at the beginning of the text references dangerous men, this extract reveals more about the dangerous men. It reveals that the dangerous men don’t control their dreams their dreams control them, that once they reach their dreams they dream bigger, and then bigger again, until there dream is to big and they injure themself or someone else.

Tempting Fate

Joe and Simons Relationship:

As Joe and Simon begin there climb they seem to be enjoying themselves, having fun, working together, and have a carefree attitude to the climb. “Simon stood on the outside of one foot, hanging back on the ice screws hammered into the ice, casual, relaxed…” “Looking to my right, I smiled seeing Simon with legs astride a large rock, sack off, taking a photograph of me…” But as there climb becomes more dangerous there is more tension between the two and it almost seems as though they are trying to start conflict with each other. ‘ “You took your time,” he (Simon) snapped. I (Joe) bristled.’ Joe and Simons relationship is interdependent because at the simplest level they need each other for beylays, if for no other reasons, however Joe and Simon also seem to depend on each other for company.

The environment:

The environment for this part of the climb steep snow covered west face of Siula Grande, the face also has sections of rock and ice. This section of the climb involves the face being scaled in pitches because of its difficulty and length, this requires one climber to lead, which involves putting ice screws on the way up as anchors, and the other to belay then they rotate this means that the climber must switch positions and gear. Near the end of the chapter Joe is scaling the last of a pitch when he realises he has forgot to collect the ice screws for Simon when the rotated positions, he is able to overcome this by being very careful and thorough with his moves to minimise his chance of falling.

Language and Joe’s Experiences

As the chapter draws to a close we find out that Joe has had accidents on the mountains doing similar things to what he and Simon are undertaking. We find out that he has mostly recovered from his experiences, but he was close to dying, and that he is still scared of bivvies. Technical jargon is one language feature used throughout the this chapter, it is used so that we, the reader, get dialog that is more authentic to what would have been said in this situation, and so that we learn the proper names for all equipment, technical, rock and ice features, and the like.

The Role of The Author And Initial Characterisation In ‘Touching The Void’ Chapter One

1- I believe that these word mean that people how only dream are never going to achieve anything, but those who have their dream in the day, live their dreams, are going to do great things. However this could also be interpreted as people who try to live their dream, maybe shouldn’t, maybe they should just be dream because they are not achievable realistic or safe, this would make these people very dangerous to themselves and others. This quote is meant to make us, the reader, think about our dreams, our actions, and their consequences.

2- My first impression of Joe is that he feels right at home, in his element, where he belongs, in the outdoors. “The sounds of rustling, of fabric in the wind, or of rainfall, the feel, of hard lumps under ground sheet, the smell of rancid socks and sweat – these are universal, as comforting as the warmth of the down sleeping bag.” “I felt a homely affection for the tent…”

3- Simon and Joe have, at least as it is currently being portrayed, a healthy friendship. They seem to be more like brothers rather than friends, Simon seems to be the older brother that Joe looks up to, aspires to be, his role model. This gives us, as the reader, some idea of their relationship, it will also create some confusion, and maybe some hatred towards Joe and Simon later in the book, depending on our idea on what is acceptable, and what is not.   

4- The way that Joe describes Richard in the beginning of the book gives the impression that Joe and Simon think that he is unusual, a bit of a novelty. He makes it sound like they, Simon and Joe, found him amusing so they decided to invite him to come with them, and that they might be able exploit him. The way that Joe talks about him makes it seem that Joe believe Richard is a lesser man than Simon and himself. We as the reader may not pick up that Joe believes that he and Simon are superior to Richard, as we don’t pick up everything the first time we read through it sounds like JOe is just giving background information, but after having a closer look and rereading this passage we are able to unpack Joes true meaning.

5- The fact that Joe and his party are so far away from civilization would cause problems if problems if there complications on their climb because the isolation means that help won’t be easily reachable, if at all, and if or when it could arrive would  most likely be too late to be of help.

6- Joe repeats ‘We can do it’ each time he feels discomfort and fear to distract himself from his worries. Another reason is thank it psych himself up for the climb by repeating it over and over it makes him think he can do it.