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 do the climbers run out of in the chapter "On the Edge"?

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

3. When Joe falls and lands on the slope at the base of the cliff, what happens?

4. While Joe struggles to dig a snow cave, Simon struggles to do what?

5. What does Simon insist that Joe not do on this trip?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Joe's plan of action if Simon falls through, or off, the ridge again?

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

3. Joe describes the beginning of their practice climb on Yantauri as 'inauspicious' (p24). Why?

4. When Joe and Simon start their ascent of the first ice wall on Siula Grande, what is Joe's attitude toward what they are doing?

5. When beginning his climb for the summit from the bivouac site 300 feet below the summit, what pros and cons does Joe mention about climbing in the daylight?

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

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

8. Describe Simon's feelings at the end of "The Final Choice".

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Climbers acclimatize before a climb, meaning that they adjust to the conditions, especially the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. To what other conditions, either physical or mental or both, does Joe "acclimatize" throughout the story?

Essay Topic 2

In the Epilogue, "Bad Memories", Joe talks about his experience of returning to Siula Grande for the filming of "Touching the Void". He says repeatedly that he feels "panic" and mentions post-traumatic stress syndrome. Research the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome, its history, and the advances in its treatment. Why doesn't Joe get treatment for the disorder? Does he have the disorder? What has helped with getting over his traumatic experience?

Essay Topic 3

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'?

(see the answer keys)

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