Touching the void – title analysis

By in Communication on February 7, 2013

Touching the void is a very unique name for Joe to describe climbing the mountain. The word ‘void’ is used which has many different meanings. Firstly, the word void means nothing, emptiness. to me, this means that they were close to touching whatever they believed was out there. I think that they thought they could find something that can’t be found, up on the mountain.
Another meaning for it could be from the spiritual aspect. In this case, void would mean hell. So the climbers are touching hell be because if they die and they didn’t love God and except Jesus as their Lord and saviour then they would be going to hell. This is something I believe crossed their minds because unreligious people probably have that slight uncertainty about what’s after life.
Now the word touching is interesting because that suggests to me that they want to see whatever the void is by climbing the mountain. It’s almost like a big red button. You want to touch it to see what will happen. Joe and Simon want to see the void. They want to see how far the body will go before the void (or even the mysteries of life) are shown to them. As joe said in the book, “if u suceed with a dream, you find yourself conjuring up another slighty harder, a bit more dangerous”. They want to do something more dangerous and push the limits.
This is why I think he keeps feeling “the usual anticlimax” when he climbs the mountains because he’s looking for a sense of joy and fulfilment but that isn’t enough. You can only get your joy from God so that’s why he’ll always continue searching. Also, I think he has this take on life to push boundaries for fun, just because he can and that addiction causes him to do these things, but does he really enjoy what he’s doing? Does he like that kind of life? I think he has that mentality because when he was younger someone told him that he couldn’t do something in life or he’s was kept in a box, in terms of life experiences so now he’s trying to do as much unique things as possible and proving that he can do anything he wants to.

One thought on “Touching the void – title analysis

  1. 1

    This is a very interesting and wide-ranging exploration of the possible interpretations of the word “Void” and its use in the novel.

    The ideas are well expressed, and you do best when you clearly link your thoughts to quotations from the text itself. The list of interesting and useful quotations that we’re building as we read will help you in this task. An example of a strongly embedded quote is where you write:

    This is why I think he keeps feeling “the usual anticlimax” when he climbs…

    Try to keep the phrase “I think” to a minimum because, even when you are speculating and expressing your thoughts as opposed to facts about a text, it weakens them to have to keep hedging them with the disclaimer “I think”.. you are better simply to write, “one possibility is .. ”

    Your thinking and writing is always developing well, Remi and will continue to do so as you keep applying yourself to these tasks. Have a read of Luke’s piece on the same question because (particularly his first sentence) some of it is a good example of a confident writing style. You’ll also see that he lets himself down with the “I think” formulation – which might stand out more to you in someone else’s work.

    Here’s the link:

    Be cautious when you’re expressing your speculations – like those in the last paragraph about the ‘type of person’ that Yates is, that you embed a quotation from the text that provides evidence of why you have come up with this idea.


    Mr Waugh



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