Touching The Void Essay

Describe at least one important technique used written text.  Explain how this technique helped you to understand one or more key ideas.  Note: Techniques could include figures of speech, syntax, word choice, style, symbolism, structure, or narrative point


The Rope

  • Literal Meaning: Connection Between Joe and Simon,, physical and mental support when there is no rope
  • Figurative Meaning: The Feeling of knowing someone is there at the end of the rope, Protection, feels safer, like an umbilical cord, nurture, providing the balance between mindset, care, analogy

The use of the rope in the text, Touching The Void, by Joe Simpson shows us the important key ideas.  When Simon nearly falls to his death, after a cornice of snow falls out from under his feet, Joe was his savior by jumping down the other side of the ridge. “The ropes ran unchecked through my wet icy gloves for a few feet then tugged sharply at my harness.” (Joe) p.55 “There was no warning. No crack. One minute I was climbing, the next I was falling.” This quotation teaches the reader that the rope acts like an umbilical cord providing a lifeline for each of the climbers, as they rely on each other for food, warmth, and care if something goes wrong.  Providing each of them with the balance between a negative mindset and a positive one showing a strong connection of trust. The symbol of the rope is used in both a literal and figurative way. For example, when Joe is being lowered down the west face of the mountain the rope shows us a literal connection between Joe and Simon and it also provides Joe with physical support from Simon as he’s being lowered down the face by himself.  “It needed no pressure. The taut rope exploded at the touch of the blade.”  It shows the reader how quickly the connection can be severed with a knife or a betrayal of trust.  Joe shows the reader how important that connection is when, after he gets separated from Simon, he creates an imaginary connection between him and Simon so that he doesn’t feel alone. Figuratively I think it means that he feels protected and safer knowing that Simon is on the other end of the rope and it gives him comfort to know that he’s there.

The Voice:

  • Literal Meaning: No More Darkness, Seeing A Way Out, Imaginary Connection Between Jo and Simon,
  • Figurative Meaning: Supportive, Not Feeling Alone, Safe, Joe creates an imaginary voice that he thinks gives him that support.

“ I had never been so entirely alone…”  Joe Simpson knows that the connection between two climbers is.  So he uses the Voice as a symbol that Simon is still with him.  After Joe falls into the Void he is immediately at loss without Simon so that when it comes to making decisions that he normally relies on Simon for he hears a voice in his head that tells him what to do.  “It was like there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The voice was clean and sharp and commanding.”   The use of the voice teaches the reader that the connection between two people can be more than is more than physical, the connection between Joe and Simon provides support and protection that helps them through their treacherous journey up and down Siula Grande.   It also teaches us that though we value our alone time when you are in a scary situation like Joe was no one likes being alone, we all need family and friends to be supportive and help us feel safe.  

Light and Dark:

  • Literal Meaning: No More Darkness, Seeing A Way Out,
  • Figurative Meaning: Hope, Life,

The Void:

  • Literal Meaning: Enter Text Here
  • Figurative Meaning: Darkness, Death,

As Joe is losing hope sitting on the ledge in the void the author uses the symbol of light to show Joe the way out.  “A pillar of golden light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse.” p.132  As Joe sees the light he immediately knew he had to get out, he knew that no matter what happened he was getting out.   I knew without absolute certainty. How I would do it, and when I would reach it was not considered. I just knew. In seconds my whole outlook had changed….The twelve despairing hours I had spent…seemed suddenly to have been nothing like the nightmare I had imagined.” p.133  Once Joe sees the light he has a newfound sense of hope he regains his energy and his ______ to get out in contrast to the light the darkness of the void he was in is so soul-crushing that he is not even afraid The menace was my imagination but I couldn’t stop it playing in my mind.” Even when he does reach the light and get out of the void he thinks it is a dream as he was so close to death.  This shows us that in that kind of situation the smallest piece of hope can change your outlook on life.  

One Reply to “Touching The Void Essay”

  1. Zoe, there are some intriguing personal judgements here – well done. Remember that you need to provide some background to the situation the men are in, so that your discussion makes sense. Give a brief overview of the context in places.
    – Not sure what you mean by this line: “providing each of them with the balance between a negative mindset and a positive one”
    – Consider where additional supportive evidence might be needed to solidify your ideas. E.g. “he creates an imaginary connection between him and Simon so that he doesn’t feel alone.”
    – Final statements about the key ideas/concepts learned from the text are needed after your point discussion.
    * This practice essay needs to be finished! 🙂

Respond now!