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 animals do the climbers use to transport their gear to base camp?

2. Joe notes that some of the icicles are as thick as...

3. What do the climbers use to help them see at night?

4. How many hours do Joe and Ian hang on the rope before being rescued?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. While crawling away during his escape from the crevasse, what is Joe's most common excuse for stopping, and what persuades him to continue?

2. The morning after arriving back at base camp, Simon revisits his feelings about the place while urinating on a boulder. How does he describe these emotions?

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

4. After he sees the frayed ends of the cut rope, what goes through Joe's mind?

5. When Simon sees the cliff over which Joe had been hanging, how does he feel?

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

7. Why does Joe decide to descend deeper into the crevasse?

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

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

10. While preparing for his escape attempt up the snow cone towards the light, how does Joe's view towards the crevasse briefly change?

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

Some may argue that the accident could have been avoided. Explore the possible causes of the accident. What single mistake leads to a chain reaction of events? Explain the cause and effect of each of these events in the chain, and how different decisions would, or could, lead to a different outcome. Why do most climbing incidents, accidents, disasters, and deaths occur on the descent? Is there anything that Joe and Simon could do differently to prevent the ordeal, or is it just a freak accident, no matter what they do?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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