1. In chapter 9 of “Touching the Void” by Joe Simpson symbolism is used effectively to show outer meanings of certain objects or thoughts. In this chapter one of the symbols he uses is ‘light’. In real life light means a object that allows you to see or stimulates sight, and in this chapter it also means Joe’s hope. The light coming from above the crevasse symbolises his hope that he will be able to make it out of the crevasse alive and back to safety. This hope then makes him keep on striving to get out of the crevasse and keep on pushing for his survival until the end. this is shown in the quote ‘A pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse.’ It also shows that the light symbolises his hope as when he adds adjectives in front of it in this case ‘gold’ as gold also symbolises riches, fame and glory which is also what he hopes for which then helps his hope to become stronger giving him more reason to survive and get out of the situation he is in. Another way he symbolises light to be his hope is in the quote listed above the ‘beam of gold light’ shines towards the other side of the crevasse which is where he is trying to go and get to, so it is in his hope that he can get to that gold light on the other side of the crevasse.

Another symbol in chapter 9 is ‘the voice’ which is a voice inside of Joes head that keeps on telling him he must get home to safety and carry on crawling towards base camp. ‘the voice’ symbolises a companion or a stable mind of Joe’s as he is partially going crazy from the dehydration and exhaustion he has so in the back of his mind he has a companion which could be Simon urging him to carry on and get back to him. The companion is most likely Simon as they had been together all the other time and had been through what had happened up the mountain together, and now he is alone and needs something to urge him to carry on crawling and survive, it is all shown in the quotes ‘I had never been so entirely alone, and although this alarmed me it also gave me strength.’ and ‘It was as if there where two minds within me arguing the toss.’ The second quote show that he sees ‘the voice’ as some one else telling him what to do which to me symbolise Simon pushing him to keep going. The voice also shows to us that Joe is very unstable at the time as he need something else to get him home in this case ‘the voice’ and Joe is going through the most significant and fearful time in he’s life as he isn’t able to get home without the voice telling him to.

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  1. Some very perceptive connections made between the text and the author’s purpose- well done 🙂
    Some things to consider:
    * Does Joe really desire: “riches, fame and glory” at this point in the text? How does the “gold” pillar of light connect to how Joe is feeling?
    * Which of Simon’s attributes does Joe need (through “the voice”)?


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