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 do Norma and Gloria sell to Richard and Joe?

2. What is verglas?

3. What is blue ice?

4. When Joe sees Simon's frostbitten fingers, why does he feel anxious?

5. Before recounting the Mont Blanc incident, Joe determines that Simon...

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Explain how Joe feels for the two days immediately prior to setting out for Siula Grande.

3. While thinking about the possibility of having fallen off the ridge while roped together, Joe talks about what incident witnessed by Simon?

4. Describe Simon's feelings at the end of "The Final Choice".

5. What occurs to Joe at the beginning of "On the Edge"?

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

7. 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?

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

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

10. On the first practice climb to Seria Norte, Joe loses sight of base camp and immediately notices what?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the Postscript, Joe says "The scars of six operations stood out lividly on the distorted joint. At least the wounds in my mind had healed better than these." After reading the Epilogue, how do you assess Joe's "healing"? Do you agree? What do you think about Joe's decision to go back and climb mountains again? Do you think this is imprudent, or admirable?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the second half of the book, Joe continually refers to two minds. In the chapter, 'Mind Games', Joe says he is 'split in two' (p145). He labels one of these minds 'the voice'. What does Joe hear from his bifurcated inner self, and how does he react to each 'half'?

Essay Topic 3

Climbers acclimatize before a climb, meaning that they adjust to the conditions, especially the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. To what other conditions, either physical or mental or both, does Joe "acclimatize" throughout the story?

(see the answer keys)

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