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. Joe says that what is infectious?

2. When Joe follows Simon, he is careful to do what?

3. How do Peruvian flutings contrast to European flutings?

4. Who is the narrator when italic print is used in the book?

5. What does Joe try to use to climb up the rope?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

3. Joe describes the beginning of their practice climb on Yantauri as 'inauspicious' (p24). Why?

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

5. 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?

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

7. On page 65, Joe says, 'I knew it would be a good day.' By the end of the day, how and why does his view of the day change?

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the Epilogue, "Bad Memories", Joe talks about his experience of returning to Siula Grande for the filming of "Touching the Void". He says repeatedly that he feels "panic" and mentions post-traumatic stress syndrome. Research the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome, its history, and the advances in its treatment. Why doesn't Joe get treatment for the disorder? Does he have the disorder? What has helped with getting over his traumatic experience?

Essay Topic 2

In "Ten Years On", Joe includes an excerpt from Simon's book "Against the Wall", in which Simon describes the rope as representing a "powerful symbol of trust and friendship". Cite examples in the book that support or refute this notion. Is the climber's rope simply a safety measure or, as Simon suggests, symbolic of a powerful life-and-death bond of trust between men on the mountain?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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