1.1 written text essay: “touching the void”


touching the void by Joe Simpson is a book that talks about the struggles and near death experiences that Joe had on a mountain he attempted to climb called Suila grand and what he learnt from the key moments.  language techniques were used throughout the text to allow the reader to understand the key ideas in the text. three of these language techniques are symbolism, emotive language and foreshadowing.

“I couldn’t bring myself to dispense the comforting reassurance of the rope” is a quote from joe when they are on the mountain. it shows the reader that Joe sees the rope as something that is comforting and reassuring. this is because when he is connected to the rope he will also still be connected to the person on the other side of the rope meaning that there is someone to help and joe is not alone when connected to the rope which is reassuring for joe. because he feels the rope is important as a connection it explains his response later in the text when the rope is cut by Simon he then says this “cut I couldn’t take my eyes of it” he then goes on to say his “he had gone… I was dead”. this shows the reader that as soon as the rope is cut he cannot believe it and what he can not believe is that while he is still connected to the rope he is only connected to the remains and it is no longer a connection to Simon as it was before. this really scares joe as he saw the rope as something of safety before it was cut however now he has lost that safety and is now stunned to lose the connection. from the third next quote, we can see that Joe believes that without Simon he can survive this is another broken connection just like the rope. this shows the reader that when the tools we rely on fail or disappear on us we are likely to panic and assume the worse however if we were to calm ourselves as Joe eventually did we would always see a new way. this tells us that as humans we assume the worst and often don’t have all of the information that we need for our judgements this is why it is important to slow down and have all of the information before making judgements.

“he was still grinning and his confidence was contagious” is a quote from joe describing Simon when they were lowering joe down a steep slope. in this quote emotive language is used to give the reader a sense of the emotions and vibes in the group. in this case, words like ginning and confidence portray to the reader that Simon is feeling good about the current situation and because the word contagious is used we know that these same good feelings are also being spread around the group. due to these word choices, we can see that Simon and Joe are beginning to believe that they may actually make it down alive and their thoughts are reflecting this for us. however, we can see a distinct change in the mode of the text when Joe says”my optimism had evaporated”. this shows a significant shift in the mood of the text as the word evaporated has a negative connotation to it and because the word optimism is before it and generally has a good connotation to it we can see that the good feelings that Simon and Joe were sharing before are no longer there. as a reader, we can see the very quick changes of emotions and words together that portray the feeling of that section of text however it also happens in our everyday lives with the word choices of the people around you showing how they actually feel.

the foreshadowing was used throughout touching the void to give readers a clue as to what will happen will happen later in the text. one example of this is when Simon is lowering Joe and Joe thinks “the face here was much steeper enough to frighten me and make me think that Simon was barely in control”. this is foreshadowing because Simon is in fact barely in control due to his hands dealing with frostbite in the extreme conditions. due to Simon barely being in control due to his frostbitten hands he lowered joe extremely quickly. this rushing caused joe not to have enough time to stop due to the speed when he realised that the steep was turning to be a cliff. because this quote encourages the reader to think about what may end up happening it also allows us to place ourselves in their shoes and chose the decisions we would make if it was us. this teaches us as readers that if something appears wrong or unusual as joe noticed with the steep slope than it may be that we are correct in which case it is important that we act sooner rather then later as we may not get a second chance. this can often be difficult as it means being beyond ordinary and this is often very hard but it is important to do so as we may not get a second chance.

because of the language techniques used by Joe Simpson in “touching the void” to portray to the reader the key ideas in the text. from symbolism, we can learn how if we chose to become reliant on it becomes essential for us that we believe we can live without and it is important not to come to these conclusions because you can survive if you were to lose it this is why it is important to not rely solely on an object such as the rope.  the emotive language was used to show how it is important to listen to the words that the people around you are using as it will show what they are thinking which is important as if it is ignored then choices may be made that damage the group, and through  foreshadowing was learn that it is important to trust and act upon our emotions as often they can guide us when we are uncertain and they encourage us to take action when it may be difficult. from these language techniques, we can begin to understand the key messages of the text and also what they teach us about human nature

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