1~ Explain why contrast is used in these sections of the text. How does contrast assist the reader to understand Joe’s feelings and experiences in this chapter?
The contrast between the darkness of inside the crevasse, where he was, and the light of the moon and stars above him, states to the reader that Joe feels stuck in a cold dark place and is unable to get out into the light. Including descriptions such as “the stark blackness of the drops, too deep for the light to penetrate…the black space held untold horrors….staring at the black hole in front of me….the dark spaces menaced” illustrates how far down in the crevasse he is. The darkness emphasises how far down and stuck he is, and proves how afraid Joe is beginning to feel. When Joe mentions the stars, he says “stars, or lights in my head” explaining what Joe is seeing in this point of time, he’s unsure whether he is alive and seeing stars of if he is unconscious seeing lights in his head. This makes the reader question if he is in fact alive or just imagining things.
The rope in the text could be seen as the connection and accountability that exists between Joe and Simon. Joe’s hope resides in the fact that Simon is still connected to the end of this rope (pages 113-114) What happens to this connection, sense of accountability when Joe pulls on his end of the rope, while in the crevasse? Use quotations from the text to support your answer.
Joe begins to think Simon fell down the cliff after him to his death, this makes him believe he is above the roof of the crevasse on the end of the rope. This gives Joe some hope that he would be able to get out of the crevasse alive. After pulling the loose rope until it reaches the frayed end, he comes to the realisation that the rope had been cut, resulting in the fall which could have lead to his death. Joe is shocked to believe that Simon has purposely cut the rope in order for Joe to fall, which highly means that he would think Joe is dead. After his realisation he says “I suppose I had known all along. It was madness. Crazy to have believed in it, but everything was getting that way.” This makes the reader think that their relationship is affected by the choice Simon has made. The connection between them is lost, they are no longer together in any way, and have no way of communication to alert Simon of Joe’s consciousness.
EXTENSION: Why do you believe Joe lowered himself deeper into the crevasse? (page 116)
………….. For example, he describes the black space below him in the crevasse as: “the stark blackness of the drops, too deep for the light to penetrate…the black space held untold horrors….staring at the black hole in front of me….the dark spaces menaced” (page 110), but then contrasts these dark images with descriptions of the night sky: “small hole in the roof, where the sky was cloudless, packed with stars, and moonlight was adding its glow to their bright sparkle.” (page 111)
Similarly, Joe had previously stated that he believed, he and Simon would die on this mountain: “I accepted that I was to die. There was no alternative.” “How long will you be, Simon? I thought. How long before you join me? (page 107)” However, later in the crevasse, he states: “Alive!…I laughed through the burning, and kept laughing hard, feeling tears rolling down my face (page 109)” “Simon…I couldn’t conceive of him dead, not now, not after I’ve survived.” (page 111)