50 Years on

I stride through the long white corridors of the hab heading for the observation dome, the tall glass spire jutting out of the white mess below. Climbing the last of the narrow winding stairs,  rounding the corner and taking in the vast expanse of the rugged rusty red landscape that surrounds. Towering cliffs rise up. Starting in the depths of this mega dust filled concavity, they surpass where clouds would be if this were Earth.  Meeting the violent red sky. Below me and all around, lies a pearly mess of tunnels and domes. From my vantage, the futuristic white Hab looks out of place yet a safe haven from the frigid temperatures of the barren desert. A sparkling white oasis in a deserted wasteland. “Beep”, a muffled radio report follows. To the East are explorers returning from a day trip to Dorson Col and the Arridlands. The chassis of their rovers barely above the dusty red.  Tired pack horses, they ferry scores of rock samples across the vast oxidized expanse. The decision to meet up with the expedition leader is made,  I begin the long walk down the sterile white passageways. Through the plexus of the Hab, the steel caps of my sturdy boots clatter and bang on the metallic floor. I reach the airlock and punch in my 6-digit pin … “beep, beep, hiss” the doors open. The doors close behind me, the air is sucked out of the room, I’m being vacuum packed. The doors at the end of the chamber open and I walk out onto the Martian soil. Both boots sink into the soft red dirt, left behind are my shallow footprints. They look like that of some sort of animal, though none exist in this alien district. I suddenly feel a rush of excitement as I venture out into our amazing new world.

A wave of nostalgia washes over me, as I remember what this place was like 50 years ago.  It’s hardly recognizable, the lush green foliage stretches high over the hab.  From the observation dome, I can hardly see the white roofs of the hab through the verdure jungle that covers it. The imposing red cliffs still stand guard over civilization below.  Parts of their once dry walls are now touched with both the insistent pitter-patter of falling water and a fine mist that hangs in the air before quenching the mossy walls. Visible at the top of the skyscraping facades are small remnants of the landscape that was and used to be. Unchanged by time, the red rocky outcrops that pierce the uniquely coloured sky show amazing contrast against the newly altered ambiance. High above, the daytime moon is sewn into the sky. Glowing red clouds are stitched around it. Reluctantly I pry my eyes away from the window, the view, I begin to walk to an exit. With a new and improved atmosphere, the airlock is now redundant. It is left open in a state of decay, a piece of dirty clothing discarded on the floor of a schoolboys room. A thick carpet of moss envelopes the airlock and so without security, all types of people are free to roam among the trees. Life beams from everywhere I look. Hidden behind the ferns and fronds of the mysterious jungle peeps the fury faces of little animals,  colourful birds cheep and swoop, our new world is now full of life and colour. I suddenly feel a rush of excitement as I venture out into our amazing new world.

Significant Connections

Mental Strength is an important aspect of survival

“Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” – Bryce Courtenay – The Power of One

Most people believe that the only way to get out of a physically demanding survival situation is with physical strength, this is not the case.  The connection of mental strength, between the four texts, Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick and Motherlove as told by Yolanda Grossman-Fischer, shows how Mental Strength is an important aspect of survival. Through the four texts the characters display mental strength in different ways in order to survive, some examples are unconscious acts of mental strength and some are conscious acts. Whether these acts of mental strength are conscious or unconscious these four books all share one connection, mental strength is an important aspect of survival.

In the novel, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, the main character Peekay learns to survive as he grows up as a white boy in 1930s South Africa. Early in Peekay’s life when he is around seven he is sent to boarding school. Peekay is the youngest child there and also one of the brightest. As a result, he was brutally bullied by the older kids with his main antagonist being an older boy nicknamed the ‘Judge’. Peekay finds a way to survive early by using a method that he dubs camouflage. Peekay learns that if he can’t find a way to hide his superior intelligence he will be bullied by the other kids. Peekay uses his camouflage method to fit in with his peers in a bid to be like them. “The camouflage was intact and I’d moved up into the next evolutionary stage. From knowing how to hide my brains I had now learned to use them. Granpa Chook and I were one step further away from the sea.” This technique shows mental strength because Peekay has to work hard all the time to keep his guard up. Peekay knows that it is vital for him to hide his true personality in order to survive and as a result, he consciously does so. Further on in the book Peekay learns to survive without his camouflage and begins to earn a reputation. “I quickly earned a reputation, rather unjustly, for being clever. Doc had persuaded me to drop my camouflage and not to play dumb.” This teaches the reader that at the right time, disguising your true self is important but there are also times where being you is the best way to survive.  As the book goes on Peekay discovers new ways of surviving these include being consistent and being so far ahead that no one can see his weaknesses. “I learned that the greatest camouflage of all is consistency. If you do something often enough and at the same time, in the same way, you become invisible. One of the shadows.” “While I didn’t think of it as camouflage I now know that it was, that I kept myself protected by being out in front. Too far in front to be an easy mark.” These two survival tactics are displays of mental strength because when Peekay executes them he does so consciously and with purpose. Although the camouflage itself is not based upon mental strength, Peekay’s determination to survive and thrive by doing whatever worked was where he needed his mental strength the most. This teaches us about society because, in the present day so many people are trying to portray something that they are not, this is camouflage. When people wear a certain type of clothes, they generally aren’t wearing what they like but instead what they think everyone else likes in an attempt to fit in.

“To live with nothing in your stomach and a gun in your face, is that living or is that dying a little bit every day?” – Arn Chorn Pond – Never Fall Down

In the text Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick the main character, Arn, has to find a way to survive through the brutalities of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian killing fields. Although Arn is still a child he uses his immense mental strength to get through the horrors that he faces. One day Arn’s hometown is taken over by soldiers; everyone is marched for miles to out of town to a big camp. From there everyone is separated; Women with women, men with men, children with children. Everyone is marched off to their respective labour camps to serve under the Khmer Rouge. The children in Arn’s camp are put to work, farming for the Khmer Rouge. Arn first uses his mental strength to survive when he thinks of his family: “You must be like ox, they(Khmer Rouge) say, no thoughts, only love for angka. But inside my head, I keep a door, always lock, where I hide my family. Where inside is my aunt, my sisters, my little brother, all waiting.”  Arn uses his mental strength to hide his thoughts from the Khmer Rouge. We can relate to this human nature because it is very common for people to hide their feeling from the outside world for security. However, in this case, Arn’s life depends on hiding his thoughts and feelings. This can be compared to The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay where Peekay also hides his thoughts and feeling in order to survive, he uses a method that he describes as camouflage. Peekay uses his camouflage to blend in with everything else; he knows that if he appears too smart he will be noticed by the other kids and therefore bullied more. “The camouflage was intact and I’d moved up into the next evolutionary stage. From knowing how to hide my brains I had now learned to use them. ”  This example is related to mental strength because Peekay consciously makes the decision to try and hide his intelligence from others in an attempt to survive. Another place where Arn, from Never Fall Down, uses his mental strength to hide his emotions from others takes place when he is forced by the Khmer Rouge to push the bodies of freshly executed children and adults into a mass grave. “I push them in the grave. I do it. One guy, he’s not even dead. … I make my eye blank. You show you care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live.” This shows that even in the toughest situations the body does what is necessary in order to survive.  In this case, Arn has to hide all of his emotions in order to live. This can tell us about human nature. People will hide their true selves, whether it be emotions, personality or intelligence in order to survive in life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations.

In the text Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, Joe displays how his mental strength is an important aspect of his survival. In the section of the text where he is trying to crawl down the mountain after escaping from the void, Joe uses his mental strength to push through the pain. Joe is struggling to keep going as he is hallucinating terribly at this point. Joe keeps himself going by forcing himself to keep moving. ” ‘Place-lift-brace-hop…keep going. Look how far you’ve gone. Just do it, don’t think about it…’ “ In this example of mental strength, Joe uses the work that he has already done as an excuse for himself to keep moving. In a way, he is saying to himself, don’t stop now you’ve already done so much. This teaches the reader about human nature, not thinking, just doing. This can be compared to the brand Nike, their slogan is ‘Just do it’ which is another example of the same thing in society. When Joe listens to himself and ‘Just does it’ he is more likely to survive because he is not thinking about the pain or frustrations that he is undoubtedly facing instead he is focusing only on his end goal, getting to safety. In the real world, this is the same. When you focus only on your one goal and don’t pay attention to any distractions around you, you will achieve higher. the way that Joe keeps moving can be compared to Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. In Never Fall Down when Arn is hallucinating in the jungle after being forced to fight for the Khmer Rouge he tries to escape Cambodia by walking to Thailand. “So tire now … I say to myself, “Just one more step, then you can rest.” Then I trick myself and say, “Okay Arn, now one more” .”  This cross-reference reassures the reader that setting specific goals helps you survive. These two examples teach the reader about human nature. It shows us that the human brain will intentionally try to trick itself during a survival situation where death is extremely likely in order to survive.

In the short story Motherlove, as told by Yolanda Grossman-Fischer, Yolanda tells her true story of how she survived the Holocaust. At the beginning of the Holocaust, Yolanda survives by sleeping in a barn to avoid being found by the Nazis. Yolanda first demonstrates her unconscious mental strength when she dreams of her mother warning her about Nazis coming in a truck to find her. “One night I dreamt of my mother…she warned that the Germans were on their way” “The dream was so real that I awoke. In the distance, I heard a truck approaching…Nazi soldiers searched the barn and surrounding area.” These quotes show how the human mind can sense something without the owner of the mind consciously knowing. Yolanda and her children managed to escape certain death because of her mental strength. This can be compared to Peekay in the novel The Power of One where Peekay has problems with bedwetting and consults the village witch doctor, Inkosi-Inkosikazi. The doctor visits Peekay in his dreams to fix the real world problem. “Tonight Inkosi-Inkosikazi will visit in your dreams and find the way of your night water.” The doctor magic cure worked, this may not be because of magic but really a way of convincing Peekay that he was cured. This is a mental strength because Peekay was only cured once he believed he was cured. Another way in which Yolanda portrays mental strength is when she has to deal with the deaths of her closest family members.  Her father was killed and her 8-year-old boy narrowly avoided death: “Several SS men stormed in…with sustained bursts from their automatic weapons, they mowed down the worshipers.” Yolanda tells how much her survival cost her: “The price of survival is heavy…The physical and mental scars are incurable.” In this example Yolanda does not display her mental strength to survive during the situation but rather to cope with the pain afterward, this we could argue, takes more mental strength. This can be compared to Arn from the book Never Fall Down where Arn has to deal with the loss of his family “I keep my family alive in my mind. But now the Khmer Rouge, they win. They kill the family in my mind.” After this happens to Arn he has to live knowing that his family is with him no more. These quotes show how coping with the aftermath is survival in itself and the amount of mental strength one has when it comes to going through loss or grievances is important in determining the success of their survival. This teaches us about the human nature because often people have a lot harder time remembering their ordeal than actually living it.

In survival situations, it is common for survivalists to repeat a mantra inside of their head to get themselves through the situation.  People repeat important phrases to remind themselves of their purpose, survival. In the text Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick Arn’s life is changed forever after the soldiers of the Khmer Rouge march the entire population into the countryside, As Arn moves from a field slave to a child soldier, he lives by the simple credo: “Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.” This example is an aspect of mental strength because it is a way of using the mind to control the body with purpose. This technique of re-affirming something in your mind helps you control your body to do the things you want. Another time that Arn uses this mental technique is when he is hallucinating in the Jungle after being forced to fight for the Khmer Rouge. He tries to escape Cambodia by walking to Thailand. Arn starts telling himself that he will see his family again if he manages to survive. “I talk to them; I say each name. And I say, “I Will see you again, I will see you again.” Over and over I say this like a chant. And my family, then, all voices join in… the whole jungle is chanting, “see you again, see you again.”  Even though this is in a way untrue and Arn won’t see his family again, Arn manages to survive because he convinces himself that it is real and it gives him hope. This relates to the real world because if you give yourself false confidence it can be as effective as real confidence as it gives you hope. This mental strength technique is also used by Peekay in the book The Power of One. Throughout the entire book, similar to Arn in Never Fall Down, Peekay lives by a personal mantra: “first with the head, then with the heart”  Peekay first learns this mantra from Hoppie Groenewald after watching him box. Wiry Hoppie is fighting an enormous ogre of a man, Peekay first learns from this fight that small can beat big (he had been bullied by bigger kids for over a year by this stage) and this inspires him to start boxing, he wants to be able to beat the bigger kids. Peekay holds onto this little rhyme forever and repeats it to himself whenever he needs to survive. The connection between these two texts shows the reader that this is a common theme among survivalists. It also gives us an insight into human nature and the way our minds respond to stressful and survival situations. When we go through a survival situation, our mind goes back to primitive instincts and chooses to either fight or flight. In both of these examples, the fight option was chosen. In Peekay’s situation, whenever this mental technique was used, it was used to give him the confidence to fight whatever he had to survive. Whereas, in Arn’s situation, he used this technique to make sure that he never gave up, to never stop fighting, to survive.

Throughout the four texts: Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick and Motherlove as told by Yolanda Grossman-Fischer we have learned about the human will to survive and the strength of the human mind to follow through with a will. The four texts share a connection of showing the reader the different ways in which the mind responds to different situations and how mental strength is used to survive. From this essay, we can take away what we have learned about human nature and the minds will to do anything to survive.

1.1 written text essay

Question – describe at least one important technique used in the written text explain how this technique helped you to understand one or more key ideas


In the non-fiction text Touching the Void written by Joe Simpson, a language important technique of symbolism was used to help me understand the key ideas of trust, trust broken and perseverance. The objects that were symbolised were the rope and the voice. The rope symbolised both trust and trust broken because of both the physical and symbolic connection that it provides between the two men. The voice symbolised perseverance because it is what motivated Joe to not give up, even when there seemed to be no hope left. These symbols teach the reader about human nature by showing the reader the human traits of taking risks, self-preservation and our will to survive.

The symbol of the rope was used to show the key ideas of trust throughout the text, particularly in the sections where Joe talks of past mountaineering experiences.  Joe and Simon fully depend on, and totally trust one another. This is symbolized by the rope because when they rope up together, they give each other both security and safety. This is referenced in the text when Joe talks of his life previously being saved by being roped to another climbing partner: “We hung on that fragile rope for twelve formidable hours…Eventually our shouts were heard and a rescue helicopter succeeded in plucking us from the wall.” When Simon and Joe rope up together they are also putting their lives in each other’s hands; this is referenced when Joe talks about a pair of climbers falling down a mountain still roped together: ”He had seen the falling leader jerk and twist and, without a sound, pull his partner into the void…The two men plunged down, roped together, helpless.” The symbolism of the rope in these quotes helps the reader understand the key idea of trust. This is because when the two men rope up together, they perform what could be considered the greatest act of trust possible – putting your life in someone else’s hands. By both men knowing about the dangers and securities of roping up, they accept the risk because they value the reward enough. This speaks volumes about human nature; humans have a tendency to risk their lives for no other reward than to win, be the best or be the first. We take these risks because the feeling we get when we reach the top is greater than the risk we have to take, even if this risk means death.

Another key Idea that is symbolised by the rope is the key idea of trust broken. Trust between Joe and Simon is broken when the rope that connects and provides safety to them is cut.  The rope is cut by Simon after Joe is lowered accidentally over the edge of a large cliff during the descent of Siula Grande. He is lowered down the mountain by Simon as he has a broken leg and cannot abseil himself. However, because of the darkness and the storm, Simon has no idea that he is lowering Joe over a deadly drop. After Joe spends a while hanging over the void Simon realises that he will be pulled off the mountain and killed if he doesn’t seal Joe’s fate by cutting the rope. The reader can tell that the rope symbolizes broken trust because when the rope is cut, the trust between Joe and Simon is broken and Joe falls into the void.  Simon makes the decision to cut the rope after he realises that if he does not he will be pulled off the mountain. The breaking of trust is shown after Joe falls into the crevasse and finds the cut rope: “I drew the slack rope to me, and stared at the frayed end. Cut! I couldn’t take my eyes from it.” For trust to be broken it has to exist in the first place. When we see Joe’s reaction we know that trust was broken therefore we know that trust existed between the two men prior. This is significant because in the climbing community it is taboo to even think about cutting the rope – The most vital piece of equipment in for climbing. This is backed up by Simon saying: “No-one cuts the rope” when he is guilt tripping himself for doing just that. So when Joe’s rope is cut, Simon not only a breaks trust with Joe, he also breaks the trust of climbers in general; no-one wants to climb with the guy who cut his partner’s rope. Simon’s actions in cutting the rope, knowing that it would kill Joe, tell us something about human nature. By Simon cutting Joe’s rope he is doing something embedded in human nature which is self-preservation.  He values his life over Joe’s and is willing to sacrifice Joe to save himself. What is ironic about this is that by cutting the rope, Simon actually saves both his and Joe’s lives by disregarding Joe’s.

In Touching the Void, a symbolism of the voice is also used to help the reader understand the key idea of perseverance. When Joe is crawling back down the mountain after escaping death, more than once he is confronted by a voice inside his head. The voice is constantly telling him to keep going, to survive. When Joe’s own mind has lost the ability to control his actions the voice directs him on how to survive, this shown when Joe says: “the voice told me exactly how to go about it, and I obeyed while my other mind jumped abstractly from one idea to another.” Another quote that shows Joe’s subconscious determination and perseverance is:” so long as I obeyed the voice I would be alright   …then look at my watch, the voice told me to reach that point in half an hour. The voice is a display of perseverance because although Joe is hallucinating, injured and near death, he still never gives up subconsciously, somewhere in the back of his brain there is still fight left. This can teach the reader something about human nature, about not giving up, about the will to survive. Joe’s example shows that when we persist, whether it be conscious or subconscious, we can survive. The voice inside Joe’s head may be internal self-talk, acute stress response(fight or flight) or a combination of the two. internal self-talk is where someone talks to themselves silently as if they were talking to another person. for example Joe talks about the voice telling him to keep crawling; if this were internal self-talk the voice would have been Joe talking to himself. it is likely that the voice was internal self-talk as self-talk has been shown to influence behaviour: “this internal dialogue can influence our feelings and behaviours.” – (Dr Alice Domar PhD, Clinical Psychologist). On the other hand acute stress response, a.k.a flight or fight is reaction deeply embedded in human nature. Fight or flight is where your body instinctively responds to a situation by getting ready to either fight the threat or to run from it. in Joe’s situation it could be that Joe’s instincts what is telling him what to do, the voice could just be part of his hallucination. In my opinion in Joe’s situation, it is a mixture of the two, this is probably why Joe survived.

In the non-fiction text Touching the Void written by Joe Simpson, a language important technique of symbolism was used to help me understand the key ideas of trust, trust broken and perseverance. The objects that were symbolised were the rope and the voice. In this essay, I discussed how the key I ideas of trust, trust broken and perseverance were symbolised by the rope and the voice as well as talking about how these key ideas relate to human nature.  and the In the non-fiction text Touching the Void written by Joe Simpson, a language important technique of symbolism was used to help me understand the key ideas of trust, trust broken and perseverance. The objects that were symbolised were the rope and the voice.
What the reader learns is that the key ideas symbolised by the rope and the voice are closely related to certain aspects of human nature. the key idea if trust which is symbolised by the rope is closely related to taking risks in human nature. The key idea of trust broken is closely related to the aspect of self-survival. Finally, the key idea of perseverance is closely related to the will to survive.


Rivers are not just large magnificent bodies of water but are also the veins of the earth. Dams are like blood clots, they block the natural flow of the river, they block a steady flow of cash that depends on the river, they destroy the environment and disturb people’s livelihood. If a dam is like a blood clot for our planet then why are we so keen to create them? Because they are “Green” which means they have less carbon emissions than traditional energy sources. Hydroelectricity might be the most renewable and green source of energy in the world but the environmental and social impact that is created means alternative energy sources are necessary. There are three main issues with hydropower dams, firstly dams have a huge environmental impact to the surrounding area. Second, the social impact on people living in the area which the dam affects. Thirdly, the recreational impacts which affect all river users.

The social or cultural impact that dams have is just one of the reasons we need to find alternative energy sources. How would you feel if you were told that your family, your house, your community, everything you know had no choice but to move? How would you feel if you found out that your local landscape would be gone in a matter of years, flooded by an enormous reservoir that a new hydro-dam would create? This was a reality for more than 1.24 million people in Yiling district in China when the Three Gorges Dam was constructed in 2003. 13 cities 140 towns and 1350 small villages were forced to shift due to a reservoir with a surface area 40 times larger than the Wanaka area. It is estimated that 40-80 million people have been displaced worldwide by dams ever. What I still struggle to understand is how any company or government could justify the creation of something like a dam. It seems absurd that any one company could dictate such a massive impact on so many people’s lives Another group of people that are affected when a dam is built are the people who live downstream. Imagine that a stream run through both you and your neighbors property and you both relied on the stream for food water, everything. If your neighbor built a dam on their section of the river and stopped your flow, how would you feel? What would you do? What could you do? This exact scenario is happening on a large scale right now. On the Mekong river in south east asia a small country called Laos are building dams, blocking the mekong and stopping the flow that Vietnam’s delta region utterly depends on. In many cases the people who live along the river bank rely on the river to cook, clean, farm and drink; When a dam is built both the consistent flow and regular floods are stopped which affects all regions downstream. The Delta region of the Mekong river in Vietnam is now lacking vital nutrient-rich sediment which is brought during the flood each year. This is because of the dams that have been built upstream by another country. The Mekong Delta is one of the most productive and densely populated areas of Vietnam, home to 18 million people it produces 50% of the country’s staple food crops and 90% of the rice exports. Scientists have warned that 27% of Vietnam’s GDP could be gone in the next twenty years if daming on the Mekong continues. A large portion of the country relies on the delta, taking away such a precious resource will result in Vietnam becoming a significantly poorer country.  Damming of rivers affects so many people who depend on them and it needs to stop.

Hydro-power is good for the environment right? Then you would be surprised to hear that one of my main reasons against having dams is their environmental impact. It’s not the carbon emission that threaten the environment but the habitat destruction that incurs when a dam is built. When a dam is built it can disrupt entire ecosystems, wipe out trees and plants and kill the many animals that live in the area affected.  Large dams can lead to the extinction of many fish, the disappearance of birds in floodplains, huge losses of forest, wetland and farmland, erosion of coastal deltas, and many other major impacts. The deaths of these animals and plants happen for many reasons but they all lead back to the creation of the dam. Firstly, when a dam is built the reservoir that is created by the dam destroys the habitat for all the creatures living there; It is important to note that it is almost impossible to predict the reservoirs size and depth. The creation of a dam is a destructive force against the ecosystems in its way. A local example of habitat destruction caused by dams is the Cromwell Chafer Beetle Nature Reserve which lies between Bannockburn and Cromwell. It is the only reserve in the world that was specifically created to protect invertebrates. This reserve was created because of the clyde dam and lake dunstan destroying the beetles habitat. If the beetles were not moved when lake dunstan was filled it would have extincted the chafer beetle. This is a good example of dams destroying wildlife and their habitats.again the end effect of the dam is that a corporation can walk right over anything in its way and let someone or something else deal with the consequences. The damming of rivers and the destruction of animals habitats has to stop before it is to late.

The final group that is affected by the damming of rivers is recreational river users. Everyone from kayakers to fisherman to rafters is affected by a dammed river. A good example is in Uganda on the White Nile. Uganda’s main source of income is tourism and the tourist attraction voted most popular is about to be forced out of business to the damming of the Nile. The White Nile has some of the most spectacular whitewater in the world and is sought after by kayakers and rafters from all over. Rafting on the white nile is one of Uganda’s most famous tourist attractions. Maybe it’s the sheer beauty of the river or perhaps the adrenaline of riding down the wild roller coaster that is the white nile.  As soon as august this year many amazing rapids will be flooded by the creation of the Isimba dam. Kayaking and rafting in Uganda is more than a passion, it is a way of life. If you can learn to kayak in Uganda it means a reliable job as a guide however taking away the amazing river will result in financial instability for all who depend on the river. A local example of the same thing is the hawea wave. How is that the same thing? Before the Clyde dam was constructed there used to be large rapids in the Cromwell gap. The Hawea wave which I’m sure you all know of. Was constructed due to a legal battle between kayakers and Contact energy to get compensation for the river that was destroyed by the dam.


Companies seem to be able to walk all over millions of people to build hydro schemes and ruin the rivers for everyone which is why it needs to stop. If something isn’t done soon to stop these damned dams then we will lose some of the most magnificent, powerful and life-bringing pieces of our planet. In conclusion we need to find alternative energy sources and stop locking our rivers, this is because of the environmental, social and recreational impact that i have just talked about.

Say no to dams



chapter 7

contrast is used in the text to show Joe’s conflicting feelings and experiences. the contrast between two things shows the differences between two different ideas, for example, dark and light and life and death.

In the text, the rope that connects the two men represents a bigger connection, It represents their strong bond, their friendship, their trust in each other with their lives. when the rope is cut these bonds disappear, the power that the bond that the rope represents is lost

chapter 9

  1. When Joe sees the light he literally ‘sees the light’.  When he looks up from the dark cold ice prison that is the crevasse he sees ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’, a hole at the end of the crevasse. Suddenly he goes from having given up hope, to having energy and enthusiasm. For Joe, the light symbolizes life, if he can reach the light he can escape the void. Seeing the light really is a turning point for Joe’s attitude towards his situation, It makes him extremely optimistic which helps him not give up.
  2. The other symbolism in the text is the Voice. the Voice controls Joe and tells him what to do. It guides him back to base camp and gives him the motivation to keep going and survive. I think that the voice represents Joes primal survival instincts and his optimistic side as it gives him hope. an example of this is:

Disaster – Chapter five

When Joe shatters his knee joint, it is one of the most climactic moments in the text.  Joe uses descriptive language and writing style techniques to draw the reader into the moment and to portray the immense pain he is going through.  The first sentence describing his accident is short and sharp and sets a high tempo to the event.”I felt a shattering blow, felt bones splitting and screamed.” this sentence puts the readers in the moment, this is important because it lets the readers feel the pain that the men are going through.  Another technique that Joe uses is repetition, “A fierce burning ball of fire coming from inside my thigh”, the fireball rushed from groin to knee”, “pouring on fire”. The repetition of the word fire lets the reader feel the ‘burning’ pain and draws them into the action.

Joe interviews Simon and includes his perspective in his book, he does this to show a different perspective of the action

On The Edge

The words “On The Edge” is a pun that can be viewed from many alternative aspects, this includes the literal meaning as in On a cliff face, it could also mean that they are ‘on edge ‘ and also mentally On the Edge. These are all displayed in the chapter.

Foreshadowing is one of the main language features used by Joe, this creates a tension because of the way it makes the reader think about the future forever wondering what will happen later in the text, for example, “I sensed that something would happen without understanding quite what it would be”. this gives the reader something to think about

Reaching the Summit of Siula Grande

These lines are included in the text as a sort of foreshadowing of things to come. Joe talks about coming up with harder more dangerous ambitions each time the last one is achieved what is to say that this adventure is the one that pushes the boundaries too much

Tempting Fate – Chapter 2

In chapter 2 of Touching the Void Simon and Joe have a very strong relationship which is why the climb together so well.  Although it is an unspoken thing both of them know that without the other they would be in trouble; they seem to have a full trust in the others abilities, they know each other’s limits and rely on their collective skills to overcome all obstacles or challenges in their path.one quote from chapter 2 that portrays this particularly well is: “I watched Simon’s progress, now agonisingly slow and hunched up, my hair bristling at the thought of a cornice collapse. I followed him as fast as I could. He too had realised the danger.”  The environment that Simon and Joe have to cope with in chapter two is full of danger and small challenges to overcome.  However, they act together always and struggle through to survive. at the end of chapter two, we learn about Joe past experiences which are similar to his current environment. this lets us know that he has the ability and the mindset to cope with situations like the one he is in.