4th April 2018 — Alex
- In chapter 7 of “Touching the Void”, Joe contrasts his feelings and experiences regarding the events that are taking place around him. When Joe uses contrast he allows for the reader to be given information that is later compared in future paragraphs. The reader is able to understand the changes in Joe’s feelings throughout the chapter and is assisted with this when contrast is used. This is shown when Joe talks about his acceptance of death becoming a reality: “I accepted that I was to die. There was no alternative.” This is contrasted when Joe later says “Alive!…I laughed through the burning, and kept laughing hard, feeling tears rolling down my face”. When Joe talked about dying it shows an incredible level the maturity on his part. He had to be calm and accept that he was going to die because the situation he was in proved almost no way of escape. At this point, the reader may question whether it is all over for Joe. They are encouraged to keep reading. This is so they can find out how Joe gets out of the situation that he and Simon are in. Those who are reading the book, especially those who have had near encounters with death can empathise with Joe’s feelings of death becoming a reality. The quotes contrast when Joe later talks about his realization of being alive. The reader can feel the happiness and relief on Joe’s part. The reader can visualise with these feelings of happiness and relief when Joe mentions tears and laughter despite his “burning” feelings of pain (Joe shattered his knee joint earlier on in the text). These two contrasting quotes show the reader Joe’s changing feelings throughout chapter 7 of “Touching the Void”. Joe’s feelings change frequently as he is unsure about how much longer he has to live. Joe is wrestling with the harsh environment he is climbing in and is pushing his limits to a certain extent that death has a high chance of happening.
- After Joe falls into the crevasse he is unsure about what has exactly happened. He feels disorientated and confused and when he realizes that he has fallen into a crevasse, Joe thinks that Simon has fallen with him. Joe thinks that Simon has died and because of this, Joe’s dependence lies in using the rope as a means of escaping the crevasse. Joe thinks he can use the weight of Simon’s body as an anchor to pull himself up and does not know that Simon had cut the rope. This is shown when Joe says: “It was weird to want the weight of Simon’s body to come on the rope. I had instantly found a way to get out, and it meant only that. When Simon had fallen he would have swept out and clear of the crevasse. So he must have hit the slope and stopped. He would be dead. He must be after that fall.” Joe has convinced himself that Simon has died and feels certain that he is able to escape the crevasse. However, Joe has to improvise his strategy of escaping because he finds out a different outcome of what really happened when he fell. Joe says “I saw the rope flick down, and my hopes sank. I drew the slack rope to me and stared at the frayed end. Cut! I couldn’t take my eyes from it.” Joe finds out that the rope has been cut which means he cannot rely on it to hold his weight. Joe’s expectations regarding the rope have not been and the reader can pity him because of this.