Describe how at least one technique was used in the written text you have studied.

Explain how this technique/s was used for the writer’s purpose.

Emotive language



Emotive language was an important tool in the book Touching the Void as it helps author, and subject, Joe Simpson accurately portray the ordeal he went through on his climb on Siula Grande. The language he uses truly helps us understand the mental and physical fortitude Joe needed to survive the terrifying circumstances he faced on Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes.

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One section of the text where emotive language is key to understanding Joes plight was when he initially broke his leg, after he his ice axes slipped from a near vertical ice wall.

Joe and his climbing partner, Simon Yates were descending Siula Grande, when Joe came across an ice cliff that he wasn’t expecting, and then has to attempt to traverse it, while being dehydrated and cold to the point of frostbite. He attempted the maneuver, but his ice axe slipped, and he was sent free falling down, hitting the slope, and all the force on his right leg, forcing his lower leg up and through the knee joint. At this point Joes comments become short, just stating small thing, like he is listing everything he is going through in that moment, “Everything was still, silent. My thoughts raced madly. … I hung, head down, on my back left leg tangled in the rope above me and my right leg hanging slackly to one side.”  I believe this language: “raced madly”,  “hung, head”, “leg tangled”, “leg hanging slackly” is used to show us how panicked he is. By using the short sentences, and a listing technique, he is telling us how many thoughts were racing through his mind in that moment, and how frantic he was. It allows the reader to feel the same kind of urgency and fear that Joe felt in that moment. The technique allows us to relate it back to a time we ourselves have felt anxious, and can not focus on a single thought, or element of what is happening. This technique makes the reader feel how Joe was feeling when he initially broke his leg while descending Siula Grande.

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Emotive language is crucial to understanding the extreme emotions that Joe was feeling on his journey from the crevasse he was mistakenly lowered into, and then left in, back to the camp on his broken leg. The section of the text i will be focusing on is when an extremely dehydrate finally found water. Joe’s climbing partner, Simon, had been lowering him down the mountain, and he unknowingly lowered Joe over a cliff, an unable to make an attempt to save him without dying himself he cut the rope that held them together. Luckily Joe survived the fall, and was able to escape from the crevasse, but then found himself disorientated, dehydrated and frostbitten. He was close to death, and if he had gone another day without water, surely would have died, when he would a small trickle of water that gave him the strength to crawl back to camp. “The muddy gravel at the base of the water smoothed rock was cold and moist. When I turned to face the sound, I saw a silver sheen of melt-water pouring over the golden rock” The descriptive language in this section shows the reader how grateful he was to have found the water, using language such as golden, and silver, words associated with something precious and valuable. “I pressed my lips to the thin trickle. It was icy cold. I gasped for breaths between frantic sucks at the wet slab. Water splashed over my forehead, running over my closed eyes and off the tip of my nose.” This quote uses the same technique, using words: that show us how desperate Joe was, and how in that moment getting the water into his body was the only thing that mattered to him. This technique shows the reader how desperate Joe was to survive, and getting water was a key element of his survival. The emotive language allows the reader to relate it to a time in their lives when they felt as though they could not survive without something.

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  1. Hi Moana,

    Your explanation of some of the techniques is very good. Well done for specifically stating the words which are emotive or listed in places. Ensure that you do this for all of your quoted examples. Also, the most valuable aspects of your discussion are your final statements at the end of your points. Watch vague statements: “feel how Joe was feeling”; “The emotive language allows the reader to relate it to a time in their lives when they felt as though they could not survive without something.” You could be more specific in places.

    Is this essay finished?


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