The Role of the Author and Initial Characterisation.

Chapter 1

What do you think these lines mean to you?

Joe includes the quote ‘The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible’ at the start of the text ‘Touching the Void’. He is referring to mountaineers. The ‘dreamers of the day’ are people who act upon their thoughts and ideas to make them a reality for themselves. Dreaming with open eyes puts your mind out in the open and into real life. The quote also refers to these people as being dangerous, for dreams are not always good, and displaying them into the world opens a hazard for other people. On the other hand, those who dream at night do not have control of their thoughts, and therefore pose no threat to living things. People who are unaware of their thought won’t act on them.

What is your initial impression of Joe Simpson?

Joe Simpson, the author of the book and narrator in the opening pages, is presented as a man with experience. From the line ‘We were in the Cordillera Huayhuash, in the Peruvian Andes’ we gain the knowledge that he knows his way around, and has possibly been here before. ‘I felt a homely affection for the warm security of the tent’, this quote presents the idea that either he relishes in the warmth and comfort the tent brings or that what lurks outside seems daunting.

What do these lines tell you about Simon and his relationship with Joe?

Simon, the character Joe introduces in the beginning of the book, is portrayed as a laid back, calm sort of guy with a ‘take it as it comes’ attitude. Joe sounds as if he idolises Simon, even envying him. The pair share a special connection to each other, a relationship that appears to have been standing for  a long time. Simon is Joes climbing partner so they have been together through thick and thin, and supported each other throughout rough times.

What do these lines tell you about Richard and how Joe and Simon view him?

Richard, in the opening of the book is portrayed as an outside, a guy who doesn’t have a main goal in life. He jumps at opportunities to see where life leads him, but had no real motive behind going places other than, ‘why not’. Joe and Simon meet him whilst he is staying in a rundown, shabby looking hotel. Richard joins them in their expedition into the mountains, amule for their belongings. They view him as someone with no real value.

One Reply to “The Role of the Author and Initial Characterisation.”

  1. Lillian, well done for making some perceptive connections about references in the text: “People who are unaware of their thoughts won’t act on them” and “Joe sounds as if he idolises Simon, even envying him.” Where possible, explain the purpose of these references. I.e. What understanding does the reader gain from them? Why is your interpretation important? E.g. “They view him (Richard) as someone with no real value” – which is significant/important, why?

    Also, where is your additional work on the chapters? Please post all of this work on your blog.

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