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. When Joe and Simon move together, Joe moves only when...

2. At the end of the chapter "On the Edge", Joe notes what about the day?

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

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

5. How does Simon cut the rope?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the first bivouac site on Siula Grande.

2. While dozing in and out of consciousness before leaving base camp, Joe names three things that are no longer in his life. Without them, he is afraid that he might now die. What are these?

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

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

5. 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?

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

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

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

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

10. What observation does Joe make about tents in the opening scene of the book?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 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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