1.1 Written Text Essay – Touching The Void


    1. Symbolism, Mountain, Rope, Voice.
    2. Narrative Voice / Narrative Perspective / Point of Narration: Joe Simpson and Simon Yates
    3. Figurative Language, Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Hyperbole
    4. Imagery: The Combination of Descriptive Language and Techniques for Certain Effects
    5. Conflict ( Tension Filled Moments ) – Created Through Word Choice and Syntax
    6. Syntax ( Sentence Structures ) – Different Types Have Different Effects


1.6 Speech – Brendon McCullum

“My dad talks about friendships and experiences rather than records” This is something Brendon McCullum’s father told him when he was just starting out cricket. And I think that this is something that Brendon McCullum not only bases his cricket off but also his life. Brendon does not play cricket to make money, or to win records, he plays to enjoy the game and have new experiences. Not only does he hold many records in cricket that are unlikely to be beaten any time soon he is also one of New Zealand’s greatest cricket captains. Brendon McCullum pushed the boundaries in all aspects of his life, in his early years, as a cricketer, and as a cricket captain.

As a child, Brendon was very sporty and most of his time was spent in the outdoors playing sports, a great example of this is the fact that he was in the first 11 for football and cricket and the first 15 for rugby. He had offers to take both rugby and cricket seriously but he chose cricket, And if he didn’t he might have been an all black instead of a blackcap. He did not choose cricket because he was better at it but because when he played sports he played them for fun, and he enjoyed cricket more. He was probably better at rugby considering he was selected over Dan Carter in a secondary schools competition. But his childhood was not as easygoing as you think, His father played cricket for Otago and back then cricketers were not paid nearly enough. Although his family struggled financially cricket was somewhere he could forget about that and just play, like a safe haven from the real world. When Brendon first started he always wanted to be in on the action, when he couldn’t wicketkeep he would field in as close as possible and on more than one occasion he would be hit and get mild concussions, but this did not deter him and to this day he is always in the middle of the game whenever he can be, always making an impact

Although Brendon broke on to the scene as a wicketkeeper he left his mark on cricket as a batsman, although many people just remember him for his demolition of bowling attacks during the world cup, while this was astonishing and an incredible display of his power and abilities this was not his greatest batting performances for the blackcaps. The reason for this was in the world cup he had no risks, if he got out opening the batting he had 9 other players beneath him to come ut to bat after him. Admittedly he had some incredible batting displays in tests batting at 5 such as his 54 ball century against Australia, which to this day is a world record. But I think that the batting performances where he was batting a bit slower, trying to save a test match not win it, was when he was at his best for New Zealand. The best example of this was his 302, this was the first and only triple century by a kiwi, besting Martin Crowe’s innings of 299. when he batted for 647 minutes against India to save the test match and defeat India in a test series, not an easy feat. the reason this was his greatest innings and probably the greatest test innings by a New Zealander because he showed grit and determination, complimented by some classy shots along the way, and maybe a bit of luck as well.

The most successful and well-known part of his career was his captaincy, not only did Brendon lead New Zealand to some of their most successful results ever but he revolutionized the way cricket captains captain, and encouraged his team to use new strategies and tactics to win games. There was a lot of controversy around his captaincy, this was because he had once been vice-captain but he was relieved of this role to focus on his cricket. Ross Taylor was appointed captain not long beforehand, but poor results and a lack of communication between players and captain resulted in him being stood down as captain but continuing to play for New Zealand. The New Zealand public was not happy with this decision, because they thought that Taylor was treated unfairly and was not supported enough by his support team. Despite all this Brendon McCullum still took over the role and made it his own. A true example of this is the 2015 Cricket World Cup, where he led his team from the front by opening the batting, this was something he had not normally done but he stepped up to take on this new role and took NZ to the final with his new aggressive approach to batting and dedication to the team, Although they did not win, the tournament sent out a message to cricket, the nice guys don’t always finish last. During this tournament, Brendon’s commitment was at its most obvious in his fielding, he was always the first to chase after the ball and even if there was a 1% chance of him reaching the ball he would still throw himself over the boundary and this led his team to follow and now, Because of him NZ are usually considered the best fielding team in cricket. Brendon showed his class on and off the field. At the 2015 world cup, the Australians were sledging the Kiwis, later when asked for their motives they said it was because we were ” Too nice ” This is a true example of how Brendon acted.

As you will now know Brendon’s career had his ups and downs, but he pushed through the hard times to become a great cricket captain, and stayed a great person at the same time. He pushed the boundaries of cricket in many ways, with his captaincy and his batting, on and off the field.


In The Far Distance – Chapter 9

Joe uses symbolism in chapter 9 to show two main points, the first of these is “Light” and the second one is “The Voice” When Joe has fallen down the crevasse he has all but given up hope, and has accepted his death. Then he looks up and sees the light at the top of the crevasse, for Joe this light represents hope, and it gives him the motivation to try to escape. It also is a contrast to the darkness he is stuck in and the fact he wishes to be out of the crevasse he is stuck in and in that light he can see, almost giving him a goal that he is determined to reach.

The other symbolism Joe mentions is “The Voice” this is Joe’s mind that keeps him going when Joe wants to give up. When Joe is talking about “The Voice” he talks about something that is talking to him from the outside, and “The Voice” is also very firm because it is the part of Joe that not only wants to keep going, but it knows he has to keep going if he is to survive. “The Voice” shows that Joe’s mind is very fragile, and it has been split into two parts by the events that happened on Suila Grande. It also shows he was affected by the realization that Simon had cut the rope, which represents the bond between the two of them and Joe most likely did not want to feel completely alone on the mountain, hence the reason for “The Voice”

Chapter 8 – Mood And Tone

“I looked back up the face and marked the descent we had taken during the lowerings in a plumb straight line down to where I stood. I felt cheated. The very means by which we had managed to rescue ourselves had caused the accident. I remember the mounting excitement I had felt as we had progressed smoothly down the mountain. I had been proud of what we had managed. It had worked so well – and all Joe’s pain, all his digging, and fighting, had simply speeded the inevitable accident on the cliff.”  I think the mood that is shown in the passage is reflecting, Simon is thinking back and remembering all the things that he and Joe had been through on Suila Grande

Silent Witness – Chapter 8

Passage 1

“I stared at the mountain rising over me. Empty. It was a pointless thing to have done – climb up it, across it, and down it. Stupid! It looked perfect; so clean and untouched, and we had changed nothing, It was beautiful, immaculate, but it left me empty. I had been on it too long, and it had taken everything.”
I think the mood shown in this piece of the text shows Simons regret, he regrets him and Joe trying to scale Suila Grande because he thinks it has taken Joe’s life. Simon is reflecting in this passage, reflecting what has happened and how insignificant it seems to the mountain, and how even though he had been through so much the mountain looks so peaceful and untouched.

Passage 2

“If I hadn’t cut the rope I would have certainly died. Looking at the cliff, I knew there would be no surviving such a fall. Yet, having saved myself, I was now going to return home and tell people a story that a few would ever believe. No one cuts the rope! It could never be that bad! Why didn’t you do this, or try that? I could hear the questions, and see the doubts in the eyes even of those who accepted my story. It was bizarre, and it was cruel. I had been on to a loser from the moment he broke his leg, and nothing could have changed it.”                 In this extract from the text, Simon is trying to justify what he did and why it was right to cut the rope. He mentions how the situation he was in would have resulted in his and Joe’s death, whereas the decision he made resulted in only one death. He says that the moment Joe broke his leg he knew that something would go wrong and he is worrying about what people will say when they hear his story and whether they would believe him and doubt him

Shadows In The Ice – Chapter 7

In chapter 7 Joe has just fallen down the crevasse and at the beginning, he is bit confused as to what is happening. Joe uses contrast in the chapter to show his mixed feelings and thoughts, one moment he is thinking that he and Simon will die and the next he is thinking how amazing it is that he is alive, this is because he is very injured and delirious and his thoughts are all disjointed. Joe also has a lot of time with his thoughts and he comes up with contrast that is all accurate

The rope can be seen as a connection between Joe and Simon and when Joe is tugging on it hoping Simon is at the other end is representing how Joe still thinks Simon is alive and coming down to save him. When Joe realizes Simon is not at the other end it shows that Joe knows that he is on his own with no assistance from Simon.

Writing A Formal Response

State your point/topic (First sentence) – Simons narration is significant in Disaster – Chapter 5

Expand with relevant background detail – Simons narration is told through Joe’s perspective, however, Simon validated Joe’s account as “fair and correct” Simons “Voice” reveals that he resented Joes injury and that he felt justified in distancing himself from Joe.

Examples (Specific) – The text states… The reader is told… It is revealed… Words like… The selected text… tells us…

Response (Your response)
– What does the reader learn
– What does the reader think, visualize, feel
– What connections can the reader make to other experiences of contexts
– What is the overall purpose, message

The reader understands from this narration that Simon is calculating the value of his life against Joes. He also treats the situation logically and considers the odds of their survival, if Joe is assisted down the mountain. This presents the interesting reality about human nature: should we risk our own life for others? When does our commitment to a person end? Is it excusable to relinquish responsibility when we are endangered ourselves?

The Final Choice – Chapter 6

Joe and Simon face many struggles when they are trying to get back down the mountain. The most obvious of these being Joes broken leg which prevents him from climbing down himself meaning Simon has to help him. Another problem is the extreme cold, Both Simon and Joe are both suffering from minor frostbite and this is very bad for Simon as he has to uses his hands to lower Joe down. Another issue that they are having is the general conditions, as the poor visibility means Simon loses sight of Joe faster and this means he is unaware of what Joe is doing for longer

Joe recreates the tension when he is being lowered down the cliff by using emotive language to tap into the reader’s thoughts and experiences. Joe also uses short sentences to represent the thoughts he was having at the time which are rapid and disjointed because he lacks the time for clear thinking when he is being lowered into the void. The sentence “Then abruptly my feet were in space” is very sudden and the reader can clearly visualize what has happened and also what fear Joe would be going through at the time and it also puts a stop to the fall he describes and you feel that it is almost, ‘the calm before the storm’

Disaster – Chapter 5 (Climax)

  1. When Joe shatters his knee, it is one of the most climactic moments in the text. Joe uses extremely descriptive language to try and bring the reader into the story, to make them feel all the things he was going through at the time. “My knee exploded, bone grated and the fireball rushed from groin to knee” This hyperbole exaggerates and the metaphor gives the reader an image forces the reader to think about the unbelievable pain Joe is experiencing and puts them in the moment. In this section where Joe is examining his knee, he often talks about the pain as being fire, “A fierce burning ball”, “Stabs of fire”, “Pouring on fire”, “And the fire rushed from groin to knee” uses repetition to provide effect, He also uses personification to talk about the pain as he often refers to it as fire. This is also a contrast to the cold snowy environment he is in and I think this tells us the fact that the pain is so great he does not notice the cold and also that the pain is so great it takes over all his thoughts.

  2. Simons perspective is a key part of the text because it gives the thoughts and views of the person witnessing the injury, and is, therefore, going to be more rational in his thinking and in giving his opinions and it is an interesting thing to be given a perspective that, up until then, has not been presented to the reader. It shows Joe and Simon’s relationship changing because Simon realizes that he and Joe would be lucky to get back down the mountain alive, and if they did so Simon would be the one doing it all and I think this changes their relationship from being equals ( All though Joe indirectly saying he looks up to Simon because he is everything Joe is not ) to being one that is similar to a adult and a child because Simon is having to do most of the work.

On The Edge

The phrase on the edge can be used in many ways with many different meanings. It can mean being on the edge of a cliff or rock face or it can mean being close to making a final decision. On edge can also mean someone is very tense, and also being close to something happening, generally bad or disastrous. I think that it can refer to any of these as it is used in the title.

Foreshadowing is a language feature that is used by Joe to hint that something bad might happen. An example is that Joe often talks about how high up on the cliff they are and also how dangerous it would be to fall and would most certainly end in his and Simon’s death. This makes the reader feel that Joe and Simon might experience a fall similar to one Joe describes that Simon has experienced. Simon was climbing and he watched two Japanese climbers fall to their death, I feel that this hints towards the fact that Simon and Joe might also fall down and suffer the same fate