1.4 Creative Writing “The Dreaming City”

The Dreaming City. The place that is said to hold great mystery. Most people on the reef are afraid of the things that it may contain, unfortunately for you, you are not most people. Standing at the archway that leads to the center of the city, looking at the white, purple and gold colour pallet of the giant tower that the archway leads to. You begin to question if there is even any danger at all. Eagerly approaching the towering front doors, stepping under the archway, you reach to push the doors open, but just as your hand touches them, they open on their own, you begin to wonder about what you had just set in motion. Upon slowly walking through the doorway, the doors shut behind you with a loud slam, you turn around and try open the doors in an effort to back out of the tower, to no avail, your only option is to push deeper into the city. Wandering through the main hall you notice banners of the houses of the fallen that inhabit the reef: Judgment, Devils, Wolves and the Banished with their own distinct sigils and colouring: purples and greens for the house of judgment, red and black for the devils, blues and whites for the wolves, and blacks for the banished. Upon inspection, you notice that the banners are in perfect condition as if someone had hung them just as you arrived. With many questions in your mind, pressing further into the city in order to find answers appears to be your only option. You begin to look at the dark purple walls and the white columns with golden embossing that tells the story of how the Fallen and humans united to fight the darkness and it fills you with a sense of wonder and mystery.

After what seemed like hours of aimless wandering, you stumble across an area called “The Blind Well” and it looks starkly different to the other areas in the city, instead of purples, whites, and golds, this place is coloured in blacks, greys and light blues that seem to fade into bright whites. You carefully walk down the stairs that lead the well, once you reach the bottom you feel an attraction to something in the centre, an attraction that you cannot fight as if something has taken control of you, forcing you closer to it. As you come closer and closer to it you feel your arm extending to reach for the item, as the tips of your fingers touch the object a flash of bright light temporarily blinds you, upon regaining your vision you notice that something’s different, you look down at your hands and to your horror, you, had been corrupted with the same energy that had taken the Blind Well. Panicking, you begin to start to think about a way to revert back to how things were before you entered the Blind Well, after thinking for a moment you decide the only logical option is to exit the city, but how? You walk back the way that you came in hope that the doors have opened. As you walk down the same halls that filled you with wonder as you entered this place, everything has changed, the walls have become a deep black colour, all of the house banners have been ripped and torn and the sigils have changed into a symbol that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who lays their eyes on it, the symbol of Oryx, the Taken King. The columns have been smashed and had become the same black as the walls and the bottom of the columns slowly fade to white. The embossing on the columns had changed to the faces of those who had been taken before you. The doors that you had entered through are now in sight, and there appears to be a thin white light in the crack between the two doors, as you approach, the strip of light fades to nothing, your only exit had been blocked, you were to be trapped in the city for eternity. You had been taken, and the dream had become a nightmare.

1.8 Significant Connections

The human mind has the incredible ability to adapt to a situation that it has been placed in and make optimal decisions in order to increase the survival of the person who is in the situation. In the books/films: “Touching the Void”, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, “A Quiet Place” and “127 Hours” this is clearly evident as the survivors of these stories had to make certain decisions in order for them to survive.

“Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson has many life or death decisions made by the two climbers Joe and Simon that affected them and their chances of survival.

This aspect of the text is shown most evidently in the section where Simon is lowering Joe down Siula Grande after Joe had broken his leg on the return, Simon was lowering Joe down until Joe had gone off of the edge of a cliff that was overhanging a glacier Joe was attempting to call for Simon to no avail due to the conditions at the time, Simon’s snow seat began to crumble away leaving him one of two options, do nothing and die because of it, or cut the rope that tethered him to Joe and take one life in order to save another, Simon’s instinct of self-preservation activated inside of his brain and he made the decision of cutting the rope, sacrificing his partner in order to save himself. A while after cutting the rope, Simon realized that he did the correct thing, why would he stand idly by and let two people die when he could take action and save himself at the cost of someone else’s life this is clearly evidenced in the quote ”Rather than just sit here, feeling sorry for myself or whatever, I’ll get on with it and I’ll die on the way down.”. This shows us that in moments of extreme stress, the human’s will to survive will override any morals or emotions in order to keep itself alive.

Another section of “Touching the Void”  that involves a decision that changes a person’s chance of survival is when we go back to seeing from Joe’s perspective while he’s in the crevasse that he fell into after Simon cut the rope. Joe is suspended from an ice bridge inside of the crevasse with no way out of the situation, Joe’s only option is to go down, he realises this and decides to go deeper into the crevasse, but he makes the decision as to not tie a knot in the rope so that when he runs out of rope, he’ll fall and essentially commit suicide, this is evidenced by the quote “I didn’t put a knot into the end of the rope. If there was nothing down there, I would fall, and it would be quick.” This is an example of the human mind ‘breaking’ due to stress, making rash decisions like not putting a knot on the end of the rope would be a decision only made by someone that thought that there was no chance in survival. This provides evidence of the fact that people that don’t remain calm and collected will make irrational decisions that can drastically decrease their own chance of survival.

“A Quiet Place” is a sci-fi thriller directed by John Krasinski that follows the Abbot family after mysterious creatures arrived on the planet and began to hunt humans with their acute sense of hearing.

At the beginning of the film, the family is out scavenging through a town for food and medical supplies, once they had got the medication that they required they began to leave, the youngest son had grabbed a toy space shuttle and the father and mother looked at the toy with a look of fear on their faces, the father then grabbed the toy off of the child and then proceeded to pull out the batteries from the toy and then placed the toy and the batteries onto the table then got onto one knee so that he was eye level with his son and spoke to him in sign language and said “Listen. To. Me. Too. Loud.” This shows us that the family has learnt that the creatures hunted mainly off of their strong sense of hearing and that they cannot risk making any sort of loud noise, which the toy would’ve made if it was turned on.  This idea of making a decision in order to increase your odds of survival relates to the section in “Touching the Void” where Simon cuts the rope that connected him to Joe in order to save his life, both choices had the potential to result in death if not made, both choices also increased the chances of survival of the people who made them.

Another section of “A Quiet Place” that shows the human mind’s ability to adapt in order to survive is when the father and son are out gathering food from their traps from a river nearby and the father drops a fish into the river on accident and the son begins to run away, the father grabs him and says to him “Look at me. Listen. The river… is loud. Small sounds… safe. Big sounds… not safe. Unless…there’s another sound nearby… that’s louder. You’re safe.” The father then takes the son to a waterfall and then howls out as loud as he can in order to demonstrate his point the son, after listening for sounds of a creature rushing to the source of the sound, he heard nothing. This shows us that the family has learned that they are able to create a sound as long as there is a louder sound nearby. This contrasts to the section in “Touching the Void” where Joe is suspended from the ice bridge inside of the crevasse because the father was well aware of this technique of survival while Joe was entirely unaware of the sheet of ice that he found and then later crawled across.

A Song of Ice and Fire is the first book in the series that inspired the HBO show “Game of Thrones”. In this book there are many characters that make different decisions that relate to the character’s personality.

The section of the book where the royal family is visiting Winterfell, the home of the Stark family, the king, Robert Baratheon is visiting his friend and ally Eddard Stark after a rebellion against the “Mad King”. The son of Eddard, Bran, is a young boy that is very adventurous, while the royal family was visiting, he climbed a guard tower while his father and the king were out hunting with their hunting parties, once he got near the top of the tower, he spotted the king’s wife, Cerci Lannister having sex with her twin brother, Jamie Lannister. Jamie saw Bran and caught him before he could disappear over the edge he was standing on, and after looking at Cerci and thinking to himself for a while, he says “the things I do for love” and pushes Bran out of the tower, paralyzing him from the waist down for the rest of his life. Jamie pushing Bran out of the tower was a decision made out of fear because he knew that if the king found out about him and his wife, the king would’ve executed him for the entire population of King’s Landing to see, so he pushed him out of the tower hoping that Bran would die from the fall and act as if he simply fell. This relates to the section in Touching the Void where Simon cuts the rope in order to save himself from dying with Joe, both actions were an act of self-preservation and both Jamie and Simon survived because of the decision that they made.

Another section of A Song of Ice and Fire where a character is forced to adapt to the situation that they’re in is when the brother of Cersei and Jamie, Tyrion (who’s also called “The Imp” because he’s essentially a dwarf) is held in the Vale in a sky cell under suspicion of sending an assassin to Winterfell in order to kill Bran after he saw Jamie and Cersei together. He makes the decision to convince the guard to take him to Lysa Aryn, the head of the house Aryn, and demanded a trial by combat. He knew that he would either starve or fall out of his cell (there’s an open wall leading to a cliff drop and the floor is slanted towards the cliff), Lysa says that a “Champion” will fight for her and Tyrion also demands one, after being denied the request for his brother to come and fight for him because it’d take too long for him to arrive, he asks for someone in the crowd to fight for him, thus the sellsword Bron fights for him knowing that because Tyrion is a Lannister, he will be given plenty of gold for his service. This contrast to the section in Touching the Void where Joe lowers himself down into the crevasse because in Tyrion’s case he relied on others in order to save him while Joe had to lower himself into the crevasse and climb the power wall without the guidance or assistance of others.

127 Hours directed by Danny Boyle is a movie about mountaineer Aron Ralston exploring a canyon in Utah, a boulder falls from the top of the canyon, wedging his arm in between the boulder and the canyon’s wall and over 5 days he takes steps in order to cut off his forearm and free himself.

The scene in which Aron’s arm is trapped in between the boulder and the canyon, he was met with a choice, he could’ve chose to remain stuck in that position until he died due to thirst or starvation or was found, but what he chose to do was over the 5 days, take steps to free himself such as breaking his arm so that he could cut all of the way through his arm. This scene is an excellent example in film of a person’s mind making a difficult decision in order to save himself, a choice that most people wouldn’t have the willpower to make. This relates to the section in Touching the Void where Simon cut the rope that tethered Joe to him because in both scenarios they were both met with a decision that would affect their chances of survival, if both Simon and Aron did nothing to save themselves, they would’ve both most likely died.

In this essay I have compared the texts “Touching the Void”, “A Quiet Place”, “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “127 Hours” by which the characters in said books/movies had to adapt to the situation that they were presented within a short period of time in order to make the best decision in order to increase their likelihood of survival. In “Touching the Void” both Joe and Simon had to make decisions to increase their chances of survival, In “A Quiet Place” the Abbot family had to adapt their lives in order to make as little noise as possible, in “A Song of Ice and Fire” Jamie and Tyrion had to quickly predict the consequences of not doing anything and potentially dying, and doing what it took to survive, finally In “127 Hours” Aron had to make the life-changing choice of amputating his arm in order to escape from the canyon.

Touching the Void Essay

Describe at least one important technique used in the written text.
Explain how this technique helped you to understand one or more key ideas.

 

The book that inspired the movie with the same name, “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson which is a survival story of Joe and his climbing partner, Simon Yates that enthralls you by constantly making you question whether the 2 climbers will complete their expedition with their lives. In this book, there are many items that are symbolic of Joe and Simon and their connection together, these symbols are the focal point of my essay.

Siula Grande, the mountain that Joe and Simon scaled the west face of, is symbolic of human ambition, regardless of how hard nature tries to prevent humans from reaching certain places, humans will always stubbornly try and eventually succeed. Joe himself even believes this when he says “If you succeed with one dream…it’s not long before you’re conjuring up another, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious, a bit more dangerous” Joe had climbed before and as he grew more confident in his climbing ability  he started to become more and more ambitious wanting to overcome more and more and as this continued, he believed he could overcome a mountain face that others had attempted and failed, Joe didn’t see the fact that more experienced climbers had failed the journey as a warning, he saw it as a challenge, he wanted to be known as one of the men that had done the impossible. He allowed his aspirations to cloud his judgment, and after he had broken his leg he realized this, saying the quote that I mentioned earlier.

The rope that Simon used to lower Joe down the mountain is a symbol of the strong bond and the trust that the two climbers had forged together, as they got further down the mountain to the point where the slope began to steepen to a drop, the situation came where Joe was on the end of the rope and over a cliff face, he was helpless and couldn’t do anything but hang off the rope and yell, hoping that Simon would hear him, to no avail. meanwhile, Simon was at the other end of the rope, wondering what was happening,  Simon’s seat in the snow began to weaken and slowly gave way, the weight of Joe pulling him down closer and closer to the edge, Simon could only do one of two things, one of which was to keep struggling without any outcome, thus both climbers potentially falling to their death, the second option, sacrifice Joe in order to save his own life, take one life to save another and live with the guilt of being the reason that your partner died, Simon decided to cut the rope that tethered Joe to him, severing their trust and their companionship, once Simon had found Joe alive and returned to the world, Simon was criticized for doing what in his mind was the most rational decision, cutting the rope. “Some would argue that there was no decision to be made; that cutting the rope and the powerful symbol of trust and friendship it represents should never have entered my mind. Others say that it was simply a matter of survival.”

The Voice that Joe mentions and the Void of the crevasse when he was hanging off of the ice bridge are both symbolic of polar opposite things, the voice is Joe’s driving force once he is separated from Simon, it’s symbolic of his will to live. on the other end of the spectrum, the Void underneath Joe when he is hanging off of the ice bridge is symbolic of death. Once Joe realizes that the only way to go is down, and he begins to lower himself, this moment is representative of Joe accepting his death, he never knew if there would be anything for him down there, but he lowers anyway, knowing that he could’ve died for doing so, he accepted that and even when he had practically given up and lost all hope, he kept lowering himself down as far as he could before finding the small sheet of ice that he managed to crawl across which lead to his escape from the crevasse.

In this essay, I believe to have provided sufficient evidence of these items having their own symbolic meaning, Siula Grande being symbolic of ambition, the rope being symbolic of trust and the bond between Joe and Simon and the Voice and the Void representing life and death. There were many symbols in “Touching the void” written by Joe Simpson, these were just a small handful of them.

Symbolism planning

Symbolism In Touching The Void:

The Climbing rope is symbolic of the bond and trust that Simon and Joe had with one another and it was cut, the tie that the two men had between one another was severed.

 

The mountain is symbolic of human ambition, regardless of how hard nature tries to prevent them from reaching the places, humans will always stubbornly try and eventually succeed.

 

The burning of the clothes was symbolic of Simon fully believing that Joe was dead and that the burning of his clothes was a send-off to his climbing partner that he did the impossible with.

 

The voice is symbolic of Joe’s will to live, telling him how to get out of the situation with his life. A contrast of this is when Joe is in the crevasse he talks about the void, the void is symbolic of death and the light entering the crevasse has the same purpose as the voice that Joe talks about as his driving force.

 

The gas that Joe and Simon used to cook their food and melt snow into water is symbolic of their optimism in their ability of scaling the face of the mountain safely, as they began, they were in belief that they could succeed, as they continued and encountered more and more obstacles they began to doubt themselves, much like the gas and how they used it over time it depleted and when the gas ran out, so did their belief that their skills could keep them safe.

 

Key symbolic quotes:

“If you succeed with one dream…it’s not long before you’re conjuring up another, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious, a bit more dangerous”

 

“I felt the menace surrounding me…This was not the playground we had walked into so long ago.”

 

Shakespearean QUOTE: “Ay but to die and go we know not where; To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;…To bathe in fiery floods or to reside/In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice…That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment/Can lay on nature is a paradise/To what we fear of death” This soliloquy is taken from the play Measure for Measure, in which Claudio is condemned to death for making a woman pregnant out of wedlock. Like Joe, he faces death for seeking pleasure in doing something he knew was dangerous.

 

“Some would argue that there was no decision to be made; that cutting the rope and the powerful symbol of trust and friendship it represents should never have entered my mind. Others say that it was simply a matter of survival.”

 

“I couldn’t bring myself to dispense with the comforting reassurance of the rope.”

 

“I had to get things straight in my own mind before i could return… The healing process had started… I searched round the tent looking for the medicine box. It lay partly hidden by some of Joe’s clothes at the back of the tent. I threw it onto the grass outside and then sifted through his things, After fifteen minutes there was a pile of clothes and possessions lying in the sun by the medicines… I turned the pile of possessions and began sorting through them. I found his used film and zoom a lens in a plastic bag. It was a large bag so I gathered all the things I wanted to give to his parents and put them in as well… He fetched some petrol and we burnt the clothes in the river bed.”

 

“I remained outside hacking at the slope with the adze of my ice ax filling plastic garbage bags with frozen shards and distributing the ice to the tents for melting” into thin air page 151

 

“Due to the pronounced dehydration that was an inevitable by-product of heavy breathing in such desiccated air, each of us consumed more than a gallon  of liquid every day.” Into thin air page 151

How Video Games Can Be Beneficial

Before I get to my introduction, what’s the first image that comes to your mind when I say gamer? due to stereotyping, you’re probably thinking of an overweight middle-aged man in their mother’s basement eating pizza and drinking soda. What if I told you that the definition of being a “gamer” is only by playing video games for 4+ hours in a week, that means that you’re only playing video games for roughly 45 mins a day, put that into the comparison of how much media (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook etc) the average teenager consumes, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot. 9 hours is how much media the average teenager consumes daily. Today I am here to inform you of all the good things that gaming can do for you and maybe dispell some common misconceptions about the topic.

Having faster reaction times in life could be the difference between life and death. say for example you’re driving through town and a child walks out onto the road and doesn’t notice you, the faster your reaction time, the more likely that child is to walk away from that situation with no injuries. There are many games that require your reaction timing to be fast in order to beat your opponent. The video game “For Honor” is a great example of a competitive game where victory is based on reacting to your opponent’s movements and countering them with your own down to the nearest 50 milliseconds. You could probably imagine that reactions like that must be ridiculous and that gaming has nothing to do with that, but Washington state university conducted an experiment on the reaction times between gamers and non-gamers and recorded their results. non-gamer reaction times were averaged around 400 milliseconds, while the reaction time of gamers was around 300, although that may not seem huge, in the real world, going back to my previous example, that could be the difference between succeeding to prevent injury or failing.

The ability to communicate with others is unquestionably useful. whether working on a group project for school or just simply socializing with others, communication is key. I’m sure everyone in the class has played or at least heard of the ever-popular video game that has taken the world by storm, Fortnite. For those of you who somehow haven’t heard of the battle-royale phenomenon, it is a game that puts you up against 99 other players all fighting to be the last one standing, it gives you the option to team up with 3 others against other teams of 4. Communicating with your team and coordination with one another will allow you to dominate the un-coordinated teams with little to no effort. The University of Glasgow conducted an investigation with regards to the effect of playing video games on communication skills, they took a small group of students and asked them to play a total of 2 hours per week over an 8 week period, playing games that they were given “loosely defined” objectives in games that required the students to communicate. they were psychometric tests relating to communication skill in weeks 1 and 8 in order to measure their progress. there was a supposedly 95% increase in communication skills of the students.

You cannot go through your life without making some sort of decision. Multiple tests have been conducted by the likes of the University of London and the University of Nottingham on the effect of gaming on short-term and long-term decision making. The University of Nottingham tested the effect of video games on 12 adults that had disabilities that inhibited their decision-making skills. 6 in the control that didn’t play games, 6 in the intervention that played games like The Witcher 3 where the decisions you make through the game affect the ending you receive while there are three possible endings. They reported a significant increase in decision making over the 10 week period from the intervention group. While the University of London tested the effect of similar games on decision making and along with the increase in the ability to make the correct decision, they were found to be less susceptible to biases than other people.

In conclusion, I believe to have provided sufficient evidence that video games can be beneficial in developing your decision making, communication skills, and reaction timing. The hobby is becoming more and more popular with competitive tournaments even being aired on sports channels such as ESPN and Sky Sports. because of this and phenomenon such as Fortnite getting attention from the mainstream media after recently acquiring a player base of 40 million users worldwide to put that into perspective, that’s more than the population of 198 countries in the world. I hope to have changed the way that you view people who play video games in a positive way. Thanks for listening to what I have to say.

Chapter 9

The light in the text symbolic of Joe’s hope of surviving the situation. When the beam of light broke through the surface above Joe, he saw a way out of the crevasse, although a difficult one. The light illuminating the wall of loose snow was essentially telling Joe that the wall was the only way of surviving the encounter. “The Voice” that Joe speaks of as he was planning his route to get to the glacier is his will to live. The Voice wasn’t present as Joe was hanging from the ice bridge because he was ready to fall to the bottom of the crevasse, ending his pain. as he began to lower himself and he was scared of the unknown of the void, the voice urged him to lower further, in case there was a chance of survival, thus he found the floor of ice suspended above a fall to the bottom of the crevasse. after managing to climb up a wall of loose powder snow, while he was planning his route to the glacier, he described the voice as “clean, sharp and commanding” and “always right” leading him to follow every order that it gave him; “the voice told me exactly how to go about it, and I obeyed while my other mind jumped abstractly from one idea to another.”

Chapter 8

“I stared at the mountain rising over me. Empty. It was a pointless thing to have done – climb up it, across it, and down it. Stupid! It looked perfect; so clean and untouched, and we had changed nothing, It was beautiful, immaculate, but it left me empty. I had been on it too long, and it had taken everything.”

Simon personifies the mountain by saying that it had taken everything from him. He says that the mountain is immaculate, perfect and beautiful and that they had defaced it by climbing it, and in return, it had taken Joe.

The tone of the passage is somber, the emphasis on Simon being empty, he almost wants to forget about the events over the last week, trying his best not to look back at the thing that took everything from him creates a dark tone.

“It was a lonely place to rest. In the huge chaos of the moraines, I had sat down to rest at the one spot where I would be reminded. We and sat in the same spot six days earlier. All our keen excitement and the healthy strong feel in our bodies had become an empty memory.”

The mood of the passage is set by the word lonely. Simon was thinking back when he and Joe were at the same location just six days earlier, it made him feel alone, isolated, making the mood negative.

The tone of the passage is sorrowful, Simon is almost mourning the loss of Joe. He feels alone and lost, using the words empty and chaos to describe his thoughts and perceptions.

Chapter 7 “Shadows in the ice”

Part 1:

Contrast is used in the text because of how Joe’s brain processed the situation. He was certain that death would claim him and Simon, to the point that he was at the point where he was on the edge of giving up and succumbing to the cold, accepting his death, with his only worry being that he wished for someone to find him or Simon and somehow know that they climbed the west face.
Part 2:

As Simon cuts the rope, in an effort to save himself, he hoped that Joe was close enough to the ground so that he wouldn’t fall and injure himself more or even to his death. The symbolic meaning of Simon cutting the rope in order to same himself severs his ties to Simon, When Joe realizes this when he tugs on the rope only to find that it’s been cut, he loses hope in Simon.
Extension:

Joe begins lowering himself deeper into the crevasse Simply because he had no hope that he’d survive the situation, leading him to reach the conclusion to lower himself into the void.

Chapter 5 “Disaster” (Climax)

The writing styles and techniques include short sentences to add punch and intensity to the situation. The descriptive language of when Joe injures his knee is designed to get the readers to cringe at the thought of that happening and what it may look like.

The purpose of interviewing Simon about his thoughts and emotions when Joe breaks his leg is because it’s the most climactic moment in the whole book, making it important to get both perspectives of the men. This means that Joe, the narrator speaks from an all-seeing first person point of view (omniscient)

If I were in Joe’s position, I don’t know if I would be able to do what Joe did or if I were able to, I don’t know how calmly I could operate. I don’t know if I would be able to shift my attention from the searing pain from my leg to my own survival. However, I may have a good chance as I’ve dealt with broken, sprained and hyperextended bones, but nothing to the extent of Joe’s experience.

Chapter 4 “On The Edge” Symbolism

Use of the pun language feature in the title
The term “on edge” is used to describe someone who is visibly anxious or cautious about their actions repercussions, this term could also be used to literally describe someone or something that is on the edge of a sheer drop, such as a mountain. this pun perfectly describes Joe and his emotions in the chapter.

Symbolism
There are hints of symbolism scattered throughout the duration of the book, such as the subtle reference of the gas stove running out is symbolic of the two climbers running out of hope that their journey will end with them reaching their base camp safely