Touching the Void Analysis

Table of Content

Choice of words- The first line shows the bold strong words that show aggression and the capital letters emphasises his anger, frustration and pain. His anger can be said to be directed at several things – his painful knee, his climbing partner Simon lowering him and causing pain to his knee and his anger at himself that his injury has caused them this distress and difficulty. • When you’re angry, you often erupt in saying things that you may not normally say. Joe describes himself as uttering “a tirade of obscenities”, this shows he did more swearing than just the second line of this particular passage.

It puts his swearing in context – he shows that he was relying on this to show his anger, even though he describes them as “idiot words” and “meaningless”. • They had managed to reach the highest point of the mountain and the frustration has kicked in because it is on the descent that his knee was broken. This passage really shows the range of emotions he is going through… this is reflected in the language used. It is a matter of life and death. • Simpson shows us a range of emotions through his sentence structure and use of language.

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He articulates some of his feelings, like “bitterness” and “grievance”; but we can also infer some of his feelings from his writing. In the sentence “I cried for myself and swore at myself” it is clear he feels pity for himself as well as anger; so his emotions are directed at himself, pity for what he is suffering and also anger that he is endangering his friend, Simon. This shows us the nature of the bond between climbers they rely on each other but can also feel great guilt if they feel they have done something to endanger another climber. This shows us the great responsibility climbers have for their climbing partners.

Furthermore, to cry can be seen as a more feminine reaction while swearing is seen as a more masculine reaction to a problem – this shows the range of his emotions and the confusion he feels; in this face of such danger it is difficult not to have your emotions swing from one extreme to another. • Joe feels that it was his fault that he broke his knee. Joe feels guilt, as he sees himself as the reason for both of them being in their current situation. He uses italics for the words “I” and “my” to emphasise that it is his fault for falling and he fears, his fault that they will probably die.

This passage therefore shows Joe’s point of view which works well in the book as the next paragraph is the start of Simon’s version of what was happening to him at the same moment. We can also infer that Joe feels regret at having endangered his friend. • Friendship is important in this passage, normally if someone’s leg has been broken, they would be left for dead… But due to the bond they share Simon helps Joe down, and this shows the tight bond they share. • The rhetorical question that Joe poses in the last paragraph of this passage “Had he freed the knot? adds to the suspense – this is not just a rhetorical question, if Simon has not managed this it will have dire consequence for them so it adds to the tension. Joe can’t see what has happened so he questions his fate.

• The passage ends on a cliff hanger – as a reader you are waiting, like Joe, to see if Simon will be pulled off the mountain. Simpson achieves this by the repetition of the phrase “Any minute, any minute…” and the ellipsis at the end, adding to the suspense for the reader, especially as the narration now shifts to Simon’s point of view in the following paragraph. Joe’s description “Anger surged through me” is effective as this personification of anger and the word ‘surged’ makes it sound like an electric current travelling through him which links very well with the idea that it ‘warmed’ him, literally it helped him cope with the cold but it also ‘shook’ him, showing his helplessness and worry. • The sentence structure in this passage adds to the emotions and helps us understand Joe’s predicament. Short sentences like “The rope slipped. ”, “I slipped again. ”, “Stopped. ”, all add to the tension and the verbs ‘slipped’ and ‘stopped’ are important choices as it focuses on what is happening to him.

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Touching the Void Analysis. (2017, Jan 19). Retrieved from

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