For example, he describes the black space below him in the crevasse as: “the stark blackness of the drops, too deep for the light to penetrate…the black space held untold horrors….staring at the black hole in front of me….the dark spaces menaced” (page 110), but then contrasts these dark images with descriptions of the night sky: “small hole in the roof, where the sky was cloudless, packed with stars, and moonlight was adding its glow to their bright sparkle.” (page 111)

Explain why contrast is used in these sections of the text. How does contrast assist the reader to understand Joe’s feelings and experiences in this chapter?

Contrast is used in these sections of the text to describe the depth of situation Joe was in.  he states  “… where the sky was cloudless, packed with starts, and moon light was adding its glow to their bright sparkle”. Joe speaks fondly of the sky above him, which he can see through the small hole in the roof of the crevasse. This is contrasting the difference of what lurks inside the crevasse, to what is seen outside of it. It also contrasts the difference of up and down. When Joe looks up, he sees the glowing starts and the cloudless night sky, a calm atmosphere. When he looks down, he sees a deep black hole that menaced at him. This can relate to the idea of metaphors used in everyday life.  Examples of this are ” look up” or ” look at the bright side”. These phrases are used to present the idea of positivity. Too “look up” is a metaphor that states how if you look up, you will think and feel more positive, and have a clearer view of the situation you are in. This is the same scenario for Joe. Looking up will literally show him a clearer view. This idea is contrasting the reality of up and down, dark and light and positive and negative. 

The rope in the text could be seen as the connection and accountability that exists between Joe and Simon. Joe’s hope resides in the fact that Simon is still connected to the end of this rope (pages 113-114) What happens to this connection, sense of accountability when Joe pulls on his end of the rope, while in the crevasse? Use quotations from the text to support your answer.

The rope was at one stage, the only thing keeping the two men alive. While Joe was hanging over the ledge, Simon was attached to the rope as he sat in a dug out hole in the snow, above Joe.  The idea of the ” rope” could be a representation of the two characters relationship. When Joe was hanging over the ledge, the rope had no slack, you could describe it as tight. You could also describe Joe and Simons relationship as “tight”. This idea states that the rope is presenting the mens friendship. Joe and Simon, when attached to this rope, were accountable for each other. Keeping the rope tight ment keeping them alive, some what like keeping their relationship “tight” would also keep the men alive. This idea is backed up by the evidence of how Joe and Simon became frustrated with each other earlier in the book. While there relationship was being hindered by the fatigue and stress the mountain was applying, Joe broke his leg. This scenario in the long run, is the reason the men got into the situation of life and death. The idea of the rope and the mens relationship is also implied by the phrase ” relationship hanging by a strand”. This saying synchronises the idea of their relationship being related to the rope. Not only was their loyal friendship hanging by a strand, so were the men. 

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  1. Well done for making the connection between the metaphor “looking up” and Joe having optimism in his desperate situation. Continue to develop the second half of your answer: what does “looking down” or “back” represent?

    I really appreciate the ideas that you have given about the significance of “the rope” – you mention the tension or “tightness” (interdependence) of the men’s relationship as symbolised by the rope. You then discuss how the men’s changing relationship (when Joe breaks his leg) is shown through the reference: “hanging by a strand”.

    Well done. Meg. Keep presenting these original ideas, with evidence 🙂


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