Shadows in the ice – Chapter 7


Contrast is used to show Joe’s conflicting feelings and experiences in this chapter.

For example, he describes the black space below him in the crevasse as: “the stark blackness of the drops, too deep for the light to penetrate…the black space held untold horrors….staring at the black hole in front of me….the dark spaces menaced” (page 110), but then contrasts these dark images with descriptions of the night sky: “small hole in the roof, where the sky was cloudless, packed with stars, and moonlight was adding its glow to their bright sparkle.” (page 111)

Similarly, Joe had previously stated that he believed, he and Simon would die on this mountain: “I accepted that I was to die. There was no alternative.” “How long will you be, Simon? I thought. How long before you join me? (page 107)” However, later in the crevasse, he states: “Alive!…I laughed through the burning, and kept laughing hard, feeling tears rolling down my face (page 109)” “Simon…I couldn’t conceive of him dead, not now, not after I’ve survived.” (page 111)

  1. Explain why contrast is used in these sections of the text. How does contrast assist the reader to understand Joe’s feelings and experiences in this chapter?
  2. The rope in the text could be seen as the connection and accountability that exists between Joe and Simon. Joe’s hope resides in the fact that Simon is still connected to the end of this rope (pages 113-114) What happens to this connection, sense of accountability when Joe pulls on his end of the rope, while in the crevasse? Use quotations from the text to support your answer.
  3. EXTENSION: Why do you believe Joe lowered himself deeper into the crevasse? (page 116)

Posted by Jo Waide

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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