14th August 2017

Survival Essay


It is clear to that for people to survive  they must outsmart their opposition in many different ways using the  abilities they have. In the texts: “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak and “Eight Below” directed by Paul Walker, characters present to us that we need to take risks, make personal goals for ourselves, use our faith and spiritual beliefs, utilize the skills we already have, use our interests as an escape from what is going on around us and teamwork and trust in one another is important . Overall, these texts present to us that  for one to survive difficult circumstances they must have determination and a strong mindset from the beginning to be able to survive.


Touching the Void


In the text “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson  Joe and Simon Yates present to us their incredible survival in the Peruvian Andes when they climb the the daunting unclimbed 4,500-foot  West Face of the majestic 21,000 foot Siula Grande.


The nature of survival was shown in the text “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson. The first aspect of of survival that was shown is that we need to take risks in order to provide ourselves with opportunities to survive. This is shown when Joe falls through the crevasse and lands on an ice ledge. Joe is amazed that he is alive after falling 150-feet into the crevasse. After securing himself to the crevasse wall with an ice screw and rope Joe lights up the crevasse with his torch and realises that there is 100 feet of space (at least) below him. Joe realises he is trapped.  After trying to climb out of the crevasse Joe decides to take a risk by belaying himself down deeper into the crevasse, to find an opening. The text states: “ I already knew that I wasn’t going through that madness again…threw the rope down to the right… I let myself slide off the edge….If there was nothing there I didn’t want to come back”.  Joe takes this risk because if he stays on the ledge he will die a slow and painful death but by lowering himself into the crevasse there is a chance that he may find a way out and survive.. Even though Joe is taking a risk he is very scared and apprehensive of what will happen when he belays himself down but Joe is determined to get out of the crevasse. This shows that by Joe taking the risk to lower himself into the crevasse he gave himself the opportunity to survive, instead of staying on the ledge where he would have died without trying. The risk that Joe took may pay off and give him  another chance at survival.


A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text “Touching the Void” is to set personal goals for yourself so that you have something to work towards and focus on. This is shown when Joe sets time goals for himself when he is hobbling with his injured leg over huge boulders and rocks towards bomb alley. The voice in Joe’s head urges him on with these time goals. The text states “The voice kept urging me on, “place-lift-brace-hop”. . Joe reacts to the voice in his head by doing as he’s told. By setting time goals it helps Joe to pass the monotony,  pain and dilutions that he is feeling from exhaustion, the excruciating  pain in his leg and dehydration. The text states: “I forgot why I was doing it; forgot even the idea that I would probably make it. Running on instincts that I never suspected were in me… I timed myself religiously…I looked ahead to each landmark and gave myself half an hour to reach it… it felt so damned important to beat the watch..the watch became as crucial as my good leg.” By beating the watch it helps Joe mentally as he is achieving his goal which helps him to keep going. This shows us that by setting goals for ourselves to work towards we are able to overcome obstacles. When we achieve those goals it gives us encouragement to keep going which Joe needed if he was going  make it back to base camp. If Joe didn’t set goals he may have given up.


Rabbit Proof Fence


In the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, Molly, Daisy and Gracie present to us

their survival on their 1200 mile journey home to Jigalong across the Australian outback after escaping Moore River Settlement for half castes and quarter castes.


The nature of survival was shown in the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Philip Noyce. The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you need to use your faith and spiritual beliefs to survive.  This is shown at Jigalong Camp at the beginning when a hawk flies over and is heard calling. Molly’s mother tells Molly that the spirit bird is her protector and guide. This highlights the strong spiritual beliefs that Aboriginals hold and Molly’s connection to her homeland.  The viewer hears the diegetic sounds of the hawk calling. A point of view shot is shown  from Molly’s perspective  of her looking up at the hawk.  This shows that Molly fully trusts that the spirit bird protect and guide her whenever she needs.  Later in the film after escaping Moore River and walking nearly 1200 miles Molly and Daisy lie in the desert after collapsing in exhaustion.  Molly hears the hawk’s cry and an extreme close-up shows Molly  looking up at the spirit bird flying overhead. We also see an extreme long shot of Molly turning her head towards the mountains that are familiar to her. Molly says: “Home”. Molly knows that she is close to home and the spirit bird will guide and protect her. Molly is connected to her homeland and knows  she is nearing Jigalong. This shows that by having spiritual beliefs it can give you belief and hope to be able to survive. This is can be related to Joe in Touching the Void because although Joe doesn’t believe in god he hopes he hopes that his ma and grandmother are praying for him back home. In comparison, Molly’s mother and grandmother in Jigalong are often seen chanting as if calling the girls back to them. This is shown when Molly’s mother/grandmother are chanting on the rabbit proof fence fence while many miles away the girls are swaying on the fence as well. Molly pretends she can feel her mother/grandmother. Similar to Joe the girls believe that their  families are praying for them to return home safe and alive. This shows that even if you aren’t religious .


A second aspect of survival that was shown in the film’’Rabbit Proof Fence’’  is to use the skills you already have to survive. This is shown at the start of the film in Jigalong where Molly is seen learning to read tracks while  hunting an iguana. The viewer sees a mid shot of Molly and her family looking down at the tracks, we then see a high angle of the iguana in the tree and Molly looking up at it . Lastly, we see a low angle of Molly smiling proudly at her family. This shows us that Molly has the skills to be able to hunt and read tracks. When Molly, Daisy and Gracie escape Moore River in the film Molly’s hunting and tracking skills help them to avoid being caught. This is shown when the girls arrive at a farm and meet civil servant Mavis  who is an ex-resident of Moore river.  The girls stay the night in Mavis’s room but are found by the  farmer.  Mavis pleads with them to stay so they do.  Molly wakes up to see that car lights are flashing outside. The girls run out into the outback and the viewer sees a long shot of Molly grabbing a piece of bush and running with it behind her to make pretend tracks. This shows that Molly is tricking the men into thinking the girls have run out into the outback but they are actually hiding close by in the darkness.  Molly shows by using her tracking skills she is able to trick the men and is able to avoid getting caught . This shows that Molly 


The Book Thief


In the text “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak, Liesel Meminger presents to us her survival in Nazi Germany WW2.


The nature of survival was shown in the text “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak. The first aspect of survival that was shown is when Liesel uses books as a escape from what is going on in her life. This was shown when Liesel arrives in the town of Molching, Germany to live with her foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann. On her way to the Hubermanns Liesel’s younger brother dies her and her mother leaves her later on in the journey.   Liesel is unable to read so kind Hans begins to teach her. At night Liesel has nightmares about her brother so Hans comes in and reads and teaches the alphabet to her into the early hours of the morning.The text states “unofficially it was called the midnight class” . By Hans teaching Liesel to read and write it helped her  to emotionally survive and forget about the nightmares she was having about her brother until the next night. Liesel soon falls in love with books. On Hitler’s birthday not much later the Nazi party collects all Jewish books old furniture and lights it up in the middle of Molching to show their loyalty and respect for Hitler. Liesel is shocked and angry at this and later when everyone is gone Liesel notices a book that wasn’t burnt and quickly puts it in her jacket. The text states “The book thief had struck for the first time- the beginning of an illustrious career.”This shows that by Liesel stealing her first book she is opposing what horrible things the Nazis are doing . This aspect is shown later in the book when the town Molching is being bombed by the enemy and most of Himmel street is taking shelter in Fielders’ basement. Children are crying and screaming and everybody is scared. Liesel is very worried about  Jew Max Vandenburg who is hiding in their shallow basement because if a bomb hits he is likely to be killed.  Liesel brings her collection of stolen books and begins  reading the first chapter of a book called The Whistler. Soon after everybody is listening and  Liesel realises that by reading she is comforting the scared people as well as taking her mind of Max. The text states “Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler”. This shows that by Liesel using books and words she is able to help herself as well as other people by helping to comfort them and use the words for good. Books help Liesel to take a stand about what is going on around her. By Liesel using books she is able to emotionally survive the things that are going on around her.


Eight Below


In the film “Eight Below” directed by Paul Walker, survival guide Jerry Shepard’s sled dogs present to us their survival when they are left to survive an Antarctic winter by themselves.


The nature of survival is shown in the the film “Eight Below” directed by Paul Walker. The first aspect of survival that is shown is that teamwork and trust in one another is important to survive. This is shown when Dr Davis McClaren (doc)  a meteorite scientist and survival guide Jerry Shepard are sledding with Jerry’s dogs back towards base after an expedition as a big storm is approaching. Doc falls of an ice cliff and lands on frozen ice breaking his leg. The ice cracks and splits Doc falls into the freezing water. Jerry instructs him to hold onto the ice around him. He quickly grabs equipment calling his dogs as he carefully makes his way to down to doc. Jerry clips his dogs together and places a noose of rope into his lead dog Maya’s mouth. The viewer sees a mid shot of Jerry and Maya with the noose in her mouth. Jerry says “I’ve got you Maya it’s ok”. This shows that Jerry and Maya work together as a team to get to doc and they both trust each other fully. Maya makes it to doc and he puts the noose over his chest. A low angle shot is shown of doc looking up at Maya this shows that doc is the one in need and Maya is his saviour. Maya backs away and Jerry calls “Hike, Hike!”.  A mid shot is shown of all the dogs pulling  doc out of the water. We also hear diegetic sounds of the dogs barking. This shows that by working together efficiently and fully trusting each other Jerry and his team of dogs are able to save doc.  Teamwork shows us that you sometimes you need more than one person to be able to survive.  One individual would not have been able to save doc but a team of individuals were able to.


For a person to survive they must never give up  mentally or physically.  This is shown in the texts: “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak and “Eight Below” directed by Paul Walker. These characters

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