Free Summaries

Touching the void Essay

1.) Joe’s account starts with the action verb ‘hit’ which underlines the falling action, literally, at the very beginning. Hence, we already sympathize with the character as we predict pain after the fall. The verb ‘shattering’ is audio visual imagery that helps to build a clear sensual image of the physical pain in Joe as he felt a ‘blow in [his] knees.’ Sympathy arouses. The negative verbs, ‘splitting’ and ‘screamed’ shows reaction to the ‘shattering blow’, reinforcing the pain.

The short sentence ‘I slid, head first, on my back’ mirrors the fast paced action in Joe’s account. The sense of confusion is hinted at as Joe vaguely describes the events. The future tense narrm, ation ‘would be ripped’ highlights concern for Simon despite his grave situation. It builds interest for the reader. The phrase ‘sudden violent stop’ brings about the uncertainty of events. Thus, emphasizes on the precariousness of death itself. Confusion as well is tinted upon as he has no idea of events.

2.) In the second paragraph, though there is change of moment there are fast paced thoughts. ‘My thoughts raced madly’ is a personification as he personifies thoughts which paint the insanity and unawareness of events. This is ironic as he is the only one involved in the event and no one better can understand what is happening. Hence, confusion is derived. The metaphorical phrase, ‘then pain flooded’ creates destructive image in the readers’ minds. It emphasizes on the smooth sailing of pain throughout the body. The phrase ‘fierce burning fire’ is also a metaphorical phrase that forms hell-like images.

3.) The ‘grotesque distortion in [his] knee’ is a graphical description that describes not only the physical state but also the emotional state of mind. The ‘twisting [of] the leg into a strange zig-zag’ creates rough imagery of pain. But Joe ‘didn’t connect it with the pain.’ This shows he was in the state of denial. The kinetic verb ‘kicked’ shows that he was an active victim. Despite almost ‘touching the void’ (death) he ‘kicked.’ Indeed, he is an inspiring character. This paragraph is full of long sentences that describe the pain he suffers. However, to establish this comfort he uses a short sentence ‘the pain eased.’ Hence, this highlights the sense of disbelief.

4.) In the fourth paragraph, there is sudden and dramatic change of mood as a ‘wave of nausea surged over.’ He tries to calm himself slow, before stepping down into the authenticity of the situation. The paradoxical statement, ‘sharp cold seemed to calm’ confuses the reader. However, it literally does so as the cold is actual comfort because it numbs the pain. The pain was harsh. The alliteration, ‘dark with dread’ emphasizes on the true rhythmic pattern after a mountaineer breaks his leg. A connotation of death already sets in. The calmness does not last long. Panic struck. Short sentences like, ‘that’s it. I’m dead’ mirrors the bitter truth. Finally, he realizes. However, ellipses with conditional clause, ‘if…’ emphasizes that there may be still hope.

His character is being stressed upon as a positive one. He describes the situation to be a ‘death sentence’ which accentuates on the seriousness of the situation. Fear as well is brought into the picture. The paragraph ends with a conditional clause; ‘maybe I’ve ripped’ further draws attention to his empty hopes. After realizing the truth he stills portrays a sense of denial as he has yet to accept the truth.

5.) Using the listing technique, Joe lists his injury, ‘ruptured, twisted, crushed’ which emphasizes on the height of injury. Sympathy is definitely won over.

6.) The kinetic verbs ‘dug’ and ‘pounded’ show his determination. However, this ‘effort’ is in disbelief despite him knowing his factual details (19000 feet). The alliteration ‘searing spasm’ of pain finally takes over his state of mind as there is severe and intense pain. This enhances sympathy for readers. The word ‘alone’ stands alone in the one word sentence which creates dramatic impact for readers as it accentuates the feeling of loneliness. No survival is accentuated. The alliteration ‘stayed silent’ emphasizes the pressure as he is alone in the situation. He feels the void at this point. There is irony in the statement ‘teetering on the edge of it’. ‘It’ refers to panic. However, the irony is present because panic stricken behavior is depicted all throughout the fast paced paragraphs.

Evaluation:

Joe writes his own account in order to make it authentic as it grants credibility and reaches out to the readers more boomingly.

Joe’s Account is unsteady. Different emotions overwhelm him as he tries to be brave. It is not in vain that he tries to avoid the acceptance of the truth but in hope and miracles. Due to his drastic and rather rapid change in the emotional state, I feel pity for him more in that area. If he had just accepted the truth but still worked, hardly emotional trauma would be his other weakness.

The metaphors used are very creative allows us to even determine his intelligence and creativity in writing. He brings out the pain that ‘flooded’ and ‘fire’ that fiercely burned in beautiful and easy to imagine language. Highly ironic as the pain he suffers is not at all beautiful.

The structure of the paragraphs is also relevantly structured. The paragraph where he realizes the truth is the biggest. Indeed, it is a big thing to grasp that you will die. It is quite impressive that though the pain is most it is illustrated in the smallest paragraph.

Also, the account is filled with kinetic and action verbs such as, ‘dug’ ‘kicked’. However, if you actually think about it he hasn’t really moved. I find that highly amusing. In fact, his thoughts moved more.

Back To Top