techniques~

  1. Symbolism: mountain, rope, voice
  2. Narrative voice/ Narrative perspective/ Point of narration: Joe Simpson and Simon Yates
  3. Figurative language: Simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole
  4. Imagery: the combination of descriptive language and techniques used for certain effects
  5. Conflict (tension like moments) – created through word choice and syntax.
  6. Syntax (sentence structure) -different types have different effects
  7. Climax/ turning point: syntax, word choice, dialogue
  8. Dialogue: different speaker trails

QUESTION: describe a place or time where a main character felt very comfortable or uncomfortable in the written text. Explain how techniques helped you to understand the characters reaction(s). Techniques could include figures of speech, syntax, word choice, style, symbolism, structure, or narrative point of view.

points:

  1. He felt uncomfortable because in this situation his life depends on Simon’s decision, and he didn’t know what choice simon was going to make. This questions their friendship. There was no chance of Simon hauling me up. It would have been extremely hard with a solid belay. Sitting in the snow seat, it would be suicidal to attempt it.”
  2. He felt uncomfortable because he was completely out of control of the situation. “I stopped shouting at Simon. I knew he was in the same position as me, unable to move.” ~ p. 99
  3. Uncomfortable because he was in a life or death position for a long time and was most likely getting ready for his death. Thinking about how Simon was likely to die too, he didn’t want Simon to die, he had no reason to. “Each thought of death, of mine or his, came quite unemotionally… I was too tired to care. Perhaps if I was scared I would fight harder.” ~ p. 99…… “I hope Simon doesn’t die, that’s hard… he shouldn’t die for me.” ~ p. 99 

“Words wasted into the snow and wind, shouted to no one in particular in a shaking fury of bitterness and grievance. Idiot words, as meaningless as the hissing empty wind around me.”

“I accepted that I was to die. There was no alternative. It caused me no dreadful fear.” ~ p. 107

Joe didn’t want Simon to die because it would have been his fault and he felt like he was the one that deserved to die.

In the book Touching The Void by Joe Simpson, a place or time where the main character felt very comfortable or uncomfortable, and where techniques were used to help me understand the character’s reaction(s), was when Joe had fallen off the side of the cliff and was dangling by the rope which Simon was holding onto. This was a key moment in the text because while Joe’s life was practically in Simon’s hands, he was able to reflect on a lot of things while in this position. The three uncomfortable points I found Joe was trying to portray include his and Simon’s friendship being put the test, Joe having to be in a situation with no control over the outcome, and lastly, the thought of Simon possibly having to sacrifice himself for Joe to survive. This moment in the text used some important language techniques such as emotive language, syntax (sentence structure) and foreshadowing to further help me understand Joe’s thoughts and feelings and create tension and anticipation in my mind.

The main uncomfortable point I feel like Joe is trying to portray in this part of the text is how their friendship is being put to the test. While Joe is almost unable to move, Simon must make a decision whether to possibly sacrifice himself to save Joe’s life, or save himself by cutting the rope meaning Joe would fall at least 100 feet down into a crevasse. Joe states that “There was no chance of Simon hauling me up. It would have been extremely hard with a solid belay. Sitting in the snow seat, it would be suicidal to attempt it.” He questions what choice Simon is going make, which makes him feel useless or uncomfortable in this situation. This moment in the text tests their friendship, if Simon choses to cut the rope he risks Joe’s possible death or, if he survives the fall, Joe may be angry and put an end to their friendship. Most people would believe that a true friend would sacrifice themself for their partner, however in this situation, if Simon were to attempt to haul Joe to the top they would both have a very small chance of survival, therefore Simon is in a difficult position having to make a choice between life or possible death. Emotive language is used in this text to make the reader understand the uncomfort Joe experiences during this moment by using words intended to evoke an emotional response from the reader. Joe is feeling trapped with no way out. He can neither climb up the rope to safety or lower himself down to the ground, he’s stuck in the middle and Simon is the only person who can change that. Words like suicidal give the reader something to feel emotion towards, which helps them to further understand the author, and understand Joe’s feeling about Simon. From this, I have learnt that in reality sometimes it’s best to put your life before others’ for the best possible outcome.

The second point Joe seems to be portraying is his inability do do anything about the situation. He began by using prusik knots to try and climb up the rope, however his hands were too frozen and frostbitten that he dropped the loop. He had no other way to get to safety. All he could do now was dangle there on the rope hoping for Simon to somehow save him. This makes him feel like his life is literally in Simon’s hands. Joe says “I stopped shouting at Simon. I knew he was in the same position as me, unable to move,”~ p. 99 this quote clearly states that Joe feels as though he is unable to move, proving his uncomfort. 

The final point I would like to say Joe is trying to portray as uncomfortable, is the thought of his best friend putting his own life at risk for the survival of Joe. Joe believes that if one of them were to lose their life, he is the one that deserves to die in this moment. He does not want Simon to die by trying to save him, because it was his fault they got into this situation in the first place. “Everything came down to me . It was my knee that was smashed. I had fallen, and I was dying and Simon with me.” ~ p. 100 After everything that had happened, where they were now, was all down to Joe breaking his leg.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi Phoebe. Well done for revisiting the words from the essay task in your writing: “He questions what choice Simon is going make, which makes him feel useless or uncomfortable in this situation.” In the introduction, you could be specific to the fact that you are focusing on an “uncomfortable” moment (rather than comfortable – this is okay.)

    Also, when referring to the emotive words in a passage, try to list all of the emotive words from your example – there were additional “uncomfortable” words, besides “suicidal” in the first example.

    Also, in your final statements (at the end of each point) be specific as possible. Watch vague summaries: “From this, I have learnt that in reality sometimes it’s best to put your life before others’ for the best possible outcome.” What do you mean by best possible outcome? What would this look like for Simon? For Joe?

    This essay does not seem finished?

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