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 does Joe describe the look in Simon's eyes when he tells Simon that he has broken his leg?

2. At what altitude does Joe realize that both he and Simon have set a personal altitude record?

3. What does Joe say about bivouac sites?

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

5. How far from the nearest village do Joe, Simon, and Richard pitch base camp?

Short Essay Questions

1. While thinking about the possibility of having fallen off the ridge while roped together, Joe talks about what incident witnessed by Simon?

2. At the beginning of "Disaster", what is Joe's attitude?

3. Toward the end of "On the Edge", Joe awakens in the snow hole with what sensation?

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

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

6. On the eve of the summit conquest, what does Simon do that leaves Joe in disbelief?

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

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

9. While trying to find the North Ridge again after leaving the summit, what happens to Simon?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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