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Touching the Void, Essential Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

Context 5

The story 5

The book and the film 5

Outline, Summary, and Glossary 6

Outline 6

Chapter 1 – Beneath the Mountain Lakes 6

Chapter 2 – Tempting Fate 6

Chapter 3 – Storm at the Summit 6

Chapter 4 – On the Edge 7

Chapter 5 – Disaster 7

Chapter 6 – The Final Choice 7

Chapter 7 – Shadows in the Ice 8

Chapter 8 – Silent Witness 8

Chapter 9 – In the Far Distance 8

Chapter 10 – Mind Games 8

Chapter 11 – A Land Without Pity 9

Chapter 12 – Time is Running Out 9

Chapter 13 – Tears in the Night 9

Postscripts 10

Glossary 10

Characters 12

Joe Simpson 12

Simon Yates 12

Analysis – Joe and Simon 13

Richard 14

Spinoza, Gloria, Norma, and the children 14

The cripple 15

The mountain 15

Themes 16

Nature 16

Life and death 16

Fate 16

The Void 17

Friendship and trust 18

Sample Answer 19

How does Joe Simpson create tension in Touching the Void? 19

Context

Touching the Void is based on a true story and has been made into a book and film.

The story

In 1985, 25-year-old climber Joe Simpson was in Peru with his friend Simon Yates (then only 21). Their aim was to do something that had never been done before: climb the West Face of a mountain known as Siula Grande, high in the Peruvian Andes. They were going to do it in what mountaineers call 'Alpine style', which means carrying all their equipment, food and sleeping kit with them (as opposed to having others carry it or return to base after each climb). Doing it this way also meant they did not set up ropes and clear routes that they could use to get back down in a hurry.

They achieved their first goal, reaching the top of the 6,344 metre peak. But on the way down disaster struck, and the story of hardship and survival became famous, and infamous, beyond the world of mountaineering. Joe Simpson soon became known as the man who had survived the impossible. Simon Yates gained the controversial identity as 'the man who cut the rope'.

The book and the film

As a way of dealing ...

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