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. Why are Simon's fingertips turning black?

2. What do the climbers call their melted-snow drinks?

3. What does Joe try to use to climb up the rope?

4. In his climbing rhythm, Joe says to look at what?

5. A hundredweight of icicles falls on Joe's head. How much is this?

Short Essay Questions

1. Joe tells of the most difficult thing he has ever done, and the best view he has ever seen. What are these?

2. Why do Simon and Joe avoid the issue of discussing their game plan after Joe's injury?

3. In the moraines, what device plays a crucial role in Joe's survival?

4. As Simon descends Siula Grande at the beginning of "Silent Witness", how does he feel about the mountain?

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

6. When Joe finally clears the crevasses of the glacier and arrives at the moraines, what painful condition does he realize that he is stricken with, and how does he describe it?

7. While abseiling to the right of the wall over which Joe had tumbled, why does Simon suddenly stop his descent?

8. According to Joe in the Epilogue "Bad Memories", what has relieved has post-trauma stress, and why does he think this is so?

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

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the second half of the book, Joe continually refers to two minds. In the chapter, 'Mind Games', Joe says he is 'split in two' (p145). He labels one of these minds 'the voice'. What does Joe hear from his bifurcated inner self, and how does he react to each 'half'?

Essay Topic 2

In the last few discourses of "the voice", how do the tone and content of its messages change? Can you draw an analogy between this and Joe's condition? How does Joe's outlook or state of affairs improve (or worsen) when "the voice" finally leaves him?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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