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 is verglas?

2. Why are Simon's fingertips turning black?

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

4. How does Simon cut the rope?

5. What is the first thing that Simon says to Joe in the chapter "Tempting Fate"?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the first bivouac site on Siula Grande.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Revisit the Shakespeare soliloquy that Joe hears in his head and eventually recites. Why does this verse come to mind, and why is he familiar with it? Why is it significant that a soliloquy surfaces in his mind, and not another type of speech or writing? What inherent characteristics of a soliloquy make it appropriate to Joe's current circumstances? Does the content of the Shakespeare piece have any significance to Joe's situation? How do you interpret the soliloquy?

(see the answer keys)

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