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.
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.
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.