15th March 2018

Chapter 5- Disaster

  1. When Joe shatters his knee joint, it is one of the most climactic moments in the text (one of the most tension-filled moments for the protagonist). Pages 71-73. Explain how language and writing style techniques were used to draw the reader into Joe’s experiences in this section of the descent. You may wish to comment on: imagery, emotive language, figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole), dialogue, syntax (sentence structures) and/or narrative voice. 

The language and writing style techniques are used in this section of the book to draw the reader into not only Joes disastrous fall, but the emotion and feelings that would have existed during the time. The author used a few techniques to help create this image for us as readers. Firstly, the sentence structure was a useful way in captivating the protagonist into Joes situation. The short, sharp sentences made the feeling more intense. It gave suspence to what was to happen next, and made everything seem that little bit more serious. The sentence structure through pages 71-73 set a specific tone in my head. It made reading it more powerful, and the narrators voice became more pronounced as we read on, because of the way the text was written ( broken up and suspendable). The second technique that I noticed in this scene of the book was the emotive language. Throughout the book, you could say a lot of technical jargon is used to describe a scene or scenario, but through out this part of the chapter, emotive language was the technique the author used to capture our attention. Words like: pain, nausea, panic, gasping, dying etc. These are just some of the many words that help us identify and relate to Joes experience, because we are human too, and some of these words are feelings that we have felt too. This idea makes it easier for us to understand and relate to Joe, bringing us closer to the book and to the character. the emotive language is an effective way to help portray the feelings and atmosphere of the situation, and the authors choice of words did just that,  


  1. Joe interviewed Simon about his experiences in sections of their journey on Siula Grande and recounted what he believed to be Simon’s perspective of these experiences. Simon said that these recounts were accurate to his thoughts and feelings.

What is the purpose of including Simon’s narration when Joe shatters his knee-joint? Identify specific quotations that reveal important information about Simon and Joe’s changing relationship, through Simon’s narration.

I believe it was important to add Simons narration into the text when Joe shattered his knee. This is because his narration is of a different view point. Not only do we get an explanation of what happend, what it felt like to be in a scenario as intense as this one, but we get to hear two sides of the story. Through out most novels, told by a certain persons perspective, there is always one view point that the reader is ” made to believe”. It is like the author dragging you around by the hand, telling you whats right or wrong, who’s good and bad, and what is the truth. This idea is backed up by the fact that there is only one perspective to take into consideration. With ” Touching the void” there are two perspectives being told, giving the reader the freedom and right to agree or relate to whatever side they want. Through listening to both characters story of the situation, it also reveals important information regarding Simons and Joes changing relationship. ” I couldn’t help him, and it occurred to me that in all likelihood he would fall to his death.” I wasn’t disturbed by the thought.”In a way i hoped he would fall.” This is a very important quote from Simon. In 3 short sentences Simon had summed up his thoughts and feelings about Joe and his broken leg. Simon doesn’t show a lot of sympathy for Joe, and is in fact quite straight up about what is bound to happen next. Through this we notice a sense of selfishness from Simon. He knows staying with Joe will kill the both of them, and considers the option of leaving his best mate to save himself, but with the extremeness of their situation, we feel a sense of empathy for Simon, as no decision will be the right one, and certainly not an easy one. This quote shows the tension between these two friends, there changing relationship is vivid. they haven’t been “buddy buddy” for quite some time..the testing climate and extremeness of the scenario is taking its toll on these two mens friendship. 

How do some of these details (from Simon’s narration) foreshadow what will happen later in the text? What do you anticipate Simon will do in these difficult circumstances?

Through Simons narration, we know he has a tough perspective on what is happening. From Simons words, it foreshadows the idea that if there was ever a scenario of life or death, Simon would be willing to sacrifice the wounded to protect himself. It foreshadows that maybe something will happen to them, causing a tough decision to be made. Simons narration speaks to me as he has as tunnel vision of Joe and his badly broken leg, that he will not survive, and it is a realisation Simon came to pretty quickly. It suggests that if something was to happen to them, eg another fall or disaster, Simon isn’t expecting Joe to come out of it alive. 

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Meg, there are some perceptive connections made to the language choice in this section of the text.
    Some points to think about to strengthen your answers:
    – Be aware that Joe is “the protagonist” – main character.
    – Include examples of minor and simple sentences, if you are going to use these techniques in your analysis.
    – Specifically discuss the emotion (and ideas) connected to individual (or combinations of) emotive words.

    You have written quite a thorough answer about the purpose of Simon’s narration. Well done for giving many interpretations (with supportive evidence) about why this narration was included – continue to be confident in your judgements 🙂


Respond now!