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

2. Why does Simon cut the rope?

3. Where does Richard sleep on the way up to base camp?

4. What is blue ice?

5. What do Norma and Gloria sell to Richard and Joe?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

9. 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?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Joe experiences voices, music in his head, hallucinations, delusions, and blackouts. Research the effects of pain, starvation, and dehydration on the brain and relate them to Joe's ordeal and what he experiences. Are his symptoms surprising? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Did Simon do the right thing by cutting the rope? Joe staunchly defends him. Discuss the moral and ethical issues at hand.

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 1,177 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
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