3rd August 2018

External Essay

Question 3: Describe a Place or time where a main character felt very comfortable or uncomfortable in the written text.

Explain how Techniques helped you to understand the characters reaction(s)

Note: Techniques could include figures of speech, syntax, word choice, style, symbolism, structure, or narrative point of view etc.

“I was hanging free in space”

This is the moment when Joe is hanging over a crevasse on a rope with Simon grasping onto dear life holding onto Joe. Joe Simpson uses language techniques to display the pain and fear he is in, in this situation. The language techniques Joe uses to show the characters reactions are foreshadowing, minor sentences and symbolism, and through these hopefully I will show the stages of reactions he goes through from denial to stress to losing all hope.

Foreshadowing is used by Joe Simpson when Simon is lowering Joe down the mountain and Joe gets lowered over a cliff. He’s trying to be quick…that’s all. I knew it to be true, but there was still something wrong.” This quote shows that he is very relaxed and riding off any chance of possible danger which could be because he is hallucination and not thinking straight due to the altitude. It also teaches us that Joe is quite ignorant and not thinking of the dangerous events that could happen when sliding down the hill blind to the terrain. “A sense of great danger washed over me. I had to stop. I realised Simon would never hear me.” This shows the reader that  Joe has reacted to breaking his leg in a way if he sees a way of getting off the hill alive he will take it even if it means  he will probably de, so if he sees a chance of living he will take it without looking at the possible risks and bad outcomes. This teaches me a lesson about human nature, which is that as humans we commonly go through with things without thinking about the future consequences and what could happen if we do something wrong and with different events these consequences can become more deadly and catastrophic. Just like what Joe has done, sliding down the mountain not thinking that there might be a cliff or icefall he is about to go over.

Joe Simpson uses minor sentences to help the reader understand the characters reaction in this stressful situation. We learn that Joe is in a very difficult position with nothing he can do and we can see that he is very distressed and in a haste to try and escape. “Had he lost control? I tried breaking again. Nothing. I stifled the rising panic and tried to think clearly.” This quote shows that Joe is very distressed and confused about what is happening. When Joe says “Nothing.” this also shows that he is panicking and in a rush. “The rope slipped. I slipped again. Stopped. I knew what was about to happen. Any minute, any minute…” This shows that joe has given up and cannot do anything to save himself. This also teaches us that as humans when in a tense or sticky situation we can easily make these situations worse by thinking in incompletely as we are direct, to the point and quick meaning we do not think about future effects and this can cause bad effects to happen which in Simon and Joe’s’ case to be death or injury as they are in an extreme environment.

Joe Simpson uses symbolism to help the reader understand the characters reactions better. The main symbol used by Joe is ‘The Rope’ which is used to represent the bond and connection between Joe and Simon. The Rope was used to join Joe and Simon together for if one of them fall the other can catch them, and throughout the text it developed into a symbol of the bond between them. “I couldn’t bring myself to dispense with the comforting reassurance of the rope.” this quote shows that Joe is relying on the rope to still keep hope that he could survive. This quote also shows that he needs the connection to Simon as it can also be a symbol of motivation to not lose hope. “I slumped back on the rope feeling utterly weary.” This shows that simon uses ‘The Rope’ as a way of regaining strength and hope that he could survive. When Joe says “feeling utterly weary.” this shows how tired he is and that knowing he can trust Simon to hold him, he can take time to rest and regain strength for another attempt to rescue himself. The two quotes I have stated can also teach us as the reader that we require human contact or connection to other humans to get through tough situations or overcome significant obstacles as they give us hope or motivation even if it includes people you dislike as they give motivation to beat or surpass them. This is shown in ‘Touching The Void’ as Joe is only trying to escape as he still has hope that he can survive through the connection to Simon knowing that if he gives up, Simon will give up as well, which happened as Joe gave up and Simon gave up on Joe and cut the rope.

“Every now and then it went wildly wrong.”

In the text ‘Touching The Void’ by Joe simpson the author uses language techniques to help the reader understand reactions by the character when Joe is being lowered over the cliff above a crevasse. The language techniques he uses are Foreshadowing, minor sentences and symbolism to show how Joe reacts in stages of firstly denial that nothing bad could happen to being scared for his life to losing hope with only ‘The Rope’ to give him any hope anymore. These language techniques also teach the reader about human nature of that we can come up with plans and not think through the possible risks or future consequences therefore if in a dangerous spot we can just make the situations worse, and also that as humans we require human contact to be able to overcome and surpass obstacles.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. A good essay, Ben. Great points, relevant examples and some purposeful judgements made. What is now needed is editing to make the written argument more concise. Begin each point by “stating”, rather than describing. I.e. When this happens, it foreshadows/ shows/ symbolises…..etc. Be authoritative in your writing style (straight to the point).

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  2. Re-reading:
    – A great introduction.
    – Your first point develops in an interesting way, and I’m not sure whether your statement: “This quote shows that he is very relaxed and riding off any chance of possible danger” is entirely correct, as your evidence states: “but there was still something wrong.” Joe may be hallucinating, or in denial but this quote does foreshadow that he feels something is about to go wrong.
    – Also, your second quote in the foreshadowing point: “A sense of great danger washed over me. I had to stop. I realised Simon would never hear me,” needs to be clearly connected to foreshadowing.
    – Your evidence for minor sentences is very good, however, be sure to explain how the structure of these sentences affects the reader’s understanding of what is going on.
    – Your point on symbolism is very well-developed; great final judgements.
    * In the exam, you may need to sacrifice one language technique (foreshadowing?) to complete the discussion on your strongest two points (symbolism, minor sentences). You can make a call on this 🙂

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