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. As Simon lowers Joe down the mountain, how is Joe facing?

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

3. What is blue ice?

4. What object does Joe have trouble with in the beginning of the story?

5. How long is one length of climbing rope?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Joe nervous about the first bivouac site?

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

3. 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?

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

5. When Joe and Simon start their ascent of the first ice wall on Siula Grande, what is Joe's attitude toward what they are doing?

6. Describe the first bivouac site on Siula Grande.

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

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

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

10. What worries Joe and Simon the most about the final part of the route to the summit?

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 his ordeal, Simon mentions the presence of songs and song lyrics in his head, even ones that he hates. Research and write about why this happens in the human psyche. Do you think that this means music plays an important role in Joe's life? How, exactly, is the music helping Joe? Is the music as prevalent as the voices and thoughts? Briefly mention your own experience with this phenomenon when under stress, if any.

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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