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. While Simon is lowering Joe, Joe swears a lot, mostly at...

2. What is a "Friend"?

3. What does Joe do while he is waiting for Simon between lowerings?

4. Joe notes in the chapter "On the Edge" that any accident needing a rope to break a fall would be...

5. After his accident with Ian, Joe regains his desire to climb, except for the dread of what?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Joe says that a 'warm feeling' stays with him while Simon lowers him. What 'warm feeling' is he referring to?

6. In "Disaster", Joe says, 'In an instant an uncrossable gap had come between us and we were no longer a team working together.' In "The Final Choice", how has Joe's view changed?

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

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

9. Compare or contrast the influence of the incident on The Bonatti Pillar on the climbing careers of Joe Simpson and Ian Whittaker.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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