touching the void chapter 4 close reading analysis


how is Simpson's use of the imagery in chapter 4 effective in creating an empathetic/sympathetic response from the reader


  • personal connection to text
  • imagery--> tragedy

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When Simpson describes the deaths of the two Japanese climbers, he uses the image of them flailing their arms, which is easy to relate to because it's depicting human behavior.

For example, when the first climber falls, Simpson describes him as falling "outwards, and backwards, arms outstretched in surprise". Since this is a normal human response to falling, we can all sympathize. What makes the visual image powerful here is that there is no surface nearby to catch the fall. The climber's reaction here is futile, and the futility of the act evokes a strong sense of tragedy.

Another example, taken from the same paragraph, occurs when the leader is show to pull his partner to their deaths "without a sound" (63) the lack of sound is due to distance; the climbers are falling in such a huge open space, making their deaths inevitable. rescue is simply not possible. both of these images (visual and aural) make the plight of the climbers easy to relate to, and the tragedy of their fate strongly felt. this is important for our main story, to foreshadow that a similar fate could befall our protagonists

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