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. Where do Joe and Simon first meet Richard?

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

3. What does Joe say about bivouac sites?

4. How does Joe describe Simon's eyes?

5. At one of the lowering changeovers, Simon smiles at Joe, and Joe realizes that their partnership...

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain how Joe feels for the two days immediately prior to setting out for Siula Grande.

2. Why does Simon cut the rope?

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

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

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

6. 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?

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

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

9. Describe the first bivouac site on Siula Grande.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Simon's inner conflict regarding telling the truth about what happened. How does he justify the fabrication of a lie or the editing of the complete truth? How does he justify complete honesty? Does he believe he will be criticized? If so, why, and by whom? Does he believe he will receive support? If so, why, and by whom?

Essay Topic 2

Joe provides a wealth of imagery when describing the figures he sees in the ice cliff shortly after emerging from the crevasse. Comment on these, providing at least five examples. When we read vivid descriptions, this usually leads our minds to other images of things that we have experienced. Describe what you see, as related to your own experience, when you read his descriptions. How do you relate to his descriptions? Do you see any significance in what these figures look like and/or in what the figures are doing? Do you view these figures as ambiguous in any way? If so, how? Which of Joe's primal needs or core beliefs are these figures appealing to or taunting, if any?

Essay Topic 3

Joe mentions more than once in the book that he has strange feelings of dread or uneasiness before bad things happen. Why do you think this is? What are Joe's ambiguous feelings on the summit? Research other climbers' similar comments, and compare. Why does he continue to climb mountains if he is so dubious about the ultimate objective? Is the journey more important, or the destination, or even the return journey? Do you think the unspoken final objective of mountain climbers is the summit, or actually making it back alive to tell about it?

(see the answer keys)

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