Touching the Void Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Joe Simpson (mountaineer)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Joe say about bivouac sites?

2. What is a couloir?

3. What does Simon insist that Joe not do on this trip?

4. How far does Simon lower Joe each time before he descends himself?

5. At the end of "The Final Choice", how does Simon feel?

Short Essay Questions

1. Toward the end of "On the Edge", Joe awakens in the snow hole with what sensation?

2. At the beginning of "Disaster", what is Joe's attitude?

3. At the beginning of "Tempting Fate", what does Joe say about his fingers, and how does he deal with them?

4. When beginning his climb for the summit from the bivouac site 300 feet below the summit, what pros and cons does Joe mention about climbing in the daylight?

5. After Joe tells Simon that he has broken his leg, he describes the pitiful look that Simon gives him as, 'a distance given to a wounded animal which could not be helped' (p74). From Simon's point of view, why does he give him this look?

6. On the eve of the summit conquest, what does Simon do that leaves Joe in disbelief?

7. After breaking his leg, why doesn't Joe ask Simon for help?

8. What observation does Joe make about tents in the opening scene of the book?

9. In "Storm at the Summit", how does Joe get a bloody lip and a cracked tooth?

10. Why is Joe nervous about the first bivouac site?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Joe mentions more than once in the book that he has strange feelings of dread or uneasiness before bad things happen. Why do you think this is? What are Joe's ambiguous feelings on the summit? Research other climbers' similar comments, and compare. Why does he continue to climb mountains if he is so dubious about the ultimate objective? Is the journey more important, or the destination, or even the return journey? Do you think the unspoken final objective of mountain climbers is the summit, or actually making it back alive to tell about it?

Essay Topic 2

What would you do in a similar or identical predicament as Joe's? Simon's? Why?

Essay Topic 3

At seven o'clock on the night before their departure, Simon and Richard hear an 'eerie wail' that Richard dismisses as a dog (p172). Study the time line of events. Is it possible that the wail they hear is Joe's first cry for help that he howls into the night from the highest point of the moraines? Why or why not? Support or refute this with evidence.

(see the answer keys)

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