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 is a couloir?

2. What side of Siula Grande do Joe and Simon have the ambition to conquer?

3. While Joe ponders the notion of being left, the rope goes slack. What does this mean?

4. When the rope suddenly pulls on Simon with great force, what situation is Joe in that Simon cannot see?

5. What is another word for "abseil"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Joe consider standing on the summit an unsettling anticlimax?

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

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

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

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

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

7. Why is Joe nervous about the first bivouac site?

8. What happens on The Bonatti Pillar on Les Petits Drus in the French Alps?

9. On page 65, Joe says, 'I knew it would be a good day.' By the end of the day, how and why does his view of the day change?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Did Simon do the right thing by cutting the rope? Joe staunchly defends him. Discuss the moral and ethical issues at hand.

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

What influence does Richard have on the outcome of this story? Is he significant? Would the outcome have been different if Richard had not been with them?

(see the answer keys)

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