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. At the beginning of the chapter "On the Edge", on which side of Siula Grande are Joe and Simon descending?

2. At the end of the chapter "On the Edge", Joe notes what about the day?

3. What do the climbers call their melted-snow drinks?

4. How does the weather look when Joe and Simon start up Siula Grande?

5. In the opening scene, what is Richard's tent covered with?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Joe's plan of action if Simon falls through, or off, the ridge again?

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

3. While trying to find the North Ridge again after leaving the summit, what happens to Simon?

4. Why does Joe consider standing on the summit an unsettling anticlimax?

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

6. What happens on The Bonatti Pillar on Les Petits Drus in the French Alps?

7. Describe the Peruvian family that lives in the huts.

8. On page 65 in "On the Edge", Joe says, 'Funny how my anxiety [about Simon's frostbitten fingers] seemed to have more to do with whether he would be able to carry on climbing after we got down rather than concern for his injuries'. Why is this statement significant?

9. What does Joe like about Simon's personality?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and/or contrast Joe's use of patterns and rhythm throughout the book. Does he use them as a function of his personality, as a result of the essence of climbing, or out of necessity? Discuss the appearance of these patterns in climbing, in the rescue attempt, and in Joe's journey back to base camp.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Simon's inner conflict regarding telling the truth about what happened. How does he justify the fabrication of a lie or the editing of the complete truth? How does he justify complete honesty? Does he believe he will be criticized? If so, why, and by whom? Does he believe he will receive support? If so, why, and by whom?

Essay Topic 3

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'?

(see the answer keys)

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