Wednesday, March 5, 2014

1 Narrative, 2 Narrators

Touching the void captivated me from the get go. Joe Simpson doesn’t find it necessary to make lengthy descriptions on the organizational aspects of the expedition. I found his narrative to be extremely informative mainly due to the fact that the novel also includes Simon’s perspective of the climb. We are given two perspectives of one climb, which allows us to understand the impact that Simpson’s fall had on both climbers. There is less room for interpretation in this text as the reaction of both men is clearly presented to us. This writing style allowed me to fully appreciate the emotional impact that extreme climbs have on experimented climbers and further reinforced my desire to understand why men decide to climb and risk their lives. It even seemed that Joe was constantly asking himself the same question as his anxiety took over, “my good humor vanished, to be replaced by worry.” (65) The description of the climb demonstrates the emotional impact that the dangers of the mountain have on mountaineers. After reading the first few pages of the novel, I realized that the climb doesn’t only require physical strength but also and mainly mental strength. Joe and Simon’s pessimistic confessions couldn’t have made the sport of mountaineering less accessible to the armchair adventurer, who, cramped to his sit, is trying not to fall in the void. 

1 comment:

  1. I also really liked that Joe Simpson chose to ignore many of the organizational aspects of the climb and focus on the technicality and emotions that he experienced. Obviously in a situation such as his the organizational aspects take a back seat and he can impress the reader with his story, not of the bureaucratic hurdles that he had to overcome.

    One thing that I find interesting and a little bit deceiving about Touching the Void is that the italic sections that were Simon's perspective weren't actually written by Simon Yates. In the epilogue Joe notes that Simon thanked him for telling the story truthfully, but he never explicitly states that it was his interpretation of what Simon thought. While I'm sure Joe did research in the same way that Krakauer did before writing his book, including many interviews with Simon, we are not actually getting two different perspectives. We are getting one's writers interpretation of separate perspectives.