13th March 2018

disaster – chapter 5 (climax)

during chapter 5 of touching the void, one of the most climactic moments of the book occurs when Joe Simpson finds himself in a life threatening situation in which he shatters his knee joint. during this part of the text where joe becomes injured the writer includes multiple different language techniques which are used to create tension, rise the levels of intensity and to engage the reader in order to create a more personal experience. for example one of the techniques used is figurative speech, it is shown in this quote “Then pain flooded down my thigh – a fierce burning fire coming down the inside of my thigh, seeming to ball in my groin, building and building until I cried out at it” using these words give more power to the text by referring to the pain as flooding down his thigh and fierce burning fire but is not literally on fire, using this language enhances the tension or the intensity of the moment. this engages the reader by creating an image in our head of burning fire which is spreading around his leg which causes intense pain. this language can also engage the reader by reminding them of a past experience in which they can relate to, this can give the reader more of an understanding of the situation that Joe is in.

Simon’s narration recounted by Joe is included in chapter 5 when Joe shatters his knee joint. this is important to the reader in order to understand Simon’s situation and why he makes the decisions he makes e.g. when Simon makes a brave decision to try and attempt to rescue Joe. including Simon’s perspective shows their relationship changing from interdependent to Joe having to completely rely on Simon to rescue him in order to survive. we can see the change in  Simon’s perspective of Joe, when the text states “i could get down. if i tried to get down i might die with him” this shows that Simon is in a difficult position and cant decide if he should rescue Joe. this tells the reader that Simon now views Joe as a burden to him. the text also portrays that Simon is lenient towards getting himself down the mountain when Simon quotes “I couldn’t help him and it occurred to me that in all likelihood he would fall to his death. I wasn’t disturbed by the thought. In a way I hoped he would fall.” this shows that their relationship has changed in a way that Simon has put his life at more value than Joe’s. as the reader from the way the text is written during Simon’s narration i interpret that the text is foreshadowing an important event to come later in the chapter, in which giving the difficult circumstances that Simon is in he will make the decision to leave Joe on the mountain in order for himself to survive.


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Zak, you have outlined why the use of “figurative language” (metaphor) is used in this response. It would have been beneficial for you to include additional examples of language techniques used to convey the experiences, thoughts and feelings of Joe in this section.

    Also, ensure that you clarify the point/s you are making: “reminding them of a past experience in which they can relate to” – what “past experiences? “give the reader more of an understanding of the situation that joe is in.” – what situation? why is it important to understand this situation?

    Lastly, you need to complete the second task on the purpose of Simon’s narration – please do this soon 🙂


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