Symbolism in literature is where an object, person or situation has an additional meaning to its literal meaning. The symbolism of light and “the voice” in Chapter 9 is used to show Joe’s changing circumstances and his reaction to them.

1~ Use pages 132-133, 135 and 139-40 to explain what light symbolises in Joe’s situation. How does it change his perspective or affect his actions?

Chapter 9 is an important part of text for Joe, in this chapter Joe is faced with a situation almost impossible to escape. After lowering himself deeper into this crevasse the reader might begin to lose hope of Joe’s escape, Joe seems to be giving up too. However at the bottom of page 32, a light beams through the roof of the crevasse towards Joe “A pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse.” This beam of light symbolises hope for Joe. Hope for his escape. Joe sees this light shining through the ceiling and it reminds him that there is a real world outside of this crevasse. “I was mesmerised by this beam of sunlight burning through the vaulted ceiling from the real world outside.” The beam acts light a path up and out of this situation Joe is stuck in. Joe believes it is leading the way out. As he regards this sunbeam he begins to forget about the uncertain floor below him and lets himself slide down the remaining rope. The author uses syntax in this part of the text in a way that tells the reader how this lightbeam changes Joe’s outlook on the whole situation. At the beginning of page 132 the writer uses imagery such as “I glanced at the rope stretched tautly above me” and states that “there was no possibility of getting back to that slope some twenty feet above me” to prove to the reader that Joe was losing hope and believed there was absolutely no way he would get out alive. He then uses imagery again at the bottom of the page to describe the light shining down on him in the crevasse from the outside world. “I was going to reach that sunbeam. I knew it then with absolute certainty.” The top of page 133 then states that “In seconds my whole outlook had changed.” All because of that lightbeam Joe now had hope that he “could crawl and climb, and keep on doing so until I had escaped from this grave.” The word grave Joe mentions in this sentence represents Joe’s death-bed, he believes that this is where he’ll die therefore he calls the crevasse his grave.


1~ Use pages 141-142 to explain the significance of “the voice” and how it reflects Joe’s mental and emotional state in this section of his journey.


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