Symbolism in literature is where an object, person or situation has an additional meaning to its literal meaning. The symbolism of light and “the voice” in Chapter 9 is used to show Joe’s changing circumstances and his reaction to them.
- Use pages 132-133, 135 and 139-40 to explain what light symbolises in Joe’s situation. How does it change his perspective or affect his actions?
The symbol of light is used many times in chapter 9. When Joe is trapped in the crevasse, it is dark and cold and sinister. Joe gains a negative outlook on his situation as he lays in the pitch black just waiting to die. When Joe finally decided to take action and lower himself down the crevasse in search of a way out, there is nothing left inside of him, he is on the verge of giving up, and one more tiny set back or hurdle could tip him over the edge. This is were the symbol of light is used. On page 132, Joe discovers light.” A pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse” This is the first time Joe had witnessed such light in a number of hours, and it was amazing as too what this beam of light did to Joe. ” it had me so fixated that I forgot about the uncertain floor below and let myself slide down the rest of the rope.” I was going to reach that sunbeam”. ” I knew it then with absolute certainty. ” How I would do it and when I would reach it were not considered, I just knew.” This magical light that Joe had come across was like flicking a switch in his mind. All of a sudden he radiated positivity. This symbol of light is contrasting the difference between dark and light, When Joe was in the pitch black crevasse, he was agonised and emotionally drained, there was a negative mood and tone created by Joe that suggested this was the end of his journey. Now that this crevasse is filled with with golden rays of sunshine, the passage has a more lively, vibrant mood. The light is symbolising hope. Hope for Joe that this might not be the end just yet, that there is still in-fact ” light at the end of the tunnel” . The most intriguing part about this section of the book, is how one small concept of ” the light” gave Joe a major uplift in spirits and a whole new reason to keep on trying. ” The change in me was astonishing. ” I felt invigorated, full of energy and optimism”. These words that Joe used in the text were nothing but out of the blue. These quotes give us an idea that the light shining through the small hole in the roof of the crevasse, may have just saved Joes life.