28th August 2018

Significant connections

Survival. As humans we strive to survive even in the toughest of conditions. The decisions you make in a difficult life threatening circumstance can be the fine line between life and death. For the men of “Touching the Void”, and Aron Ralston from 127 hours they are forced to make piece with the fact that the only way out is through immense pain and suffering. The Rugby team from “Alive” also demonstrate mental survival at its purest where they are forced to eat human flesh as their only source of food. Along with crew from the film into thin air these stories truly show us how far people will go in order to stay alive in extreme situations.

Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson is an excellent example of how two men have managed to overcome the most traumatic and difficult of survival circumstances. This aspect of survival is shown in the text when Joe is being lowered down the mountain by Simon. Joe is badly injured after taking a fall and shattering his knee joint so the men are trying to work as fast as possible in order to get Joe of the mountain and into hospital. However, during the final stages of the decent things take a turn for the worse when Joe is accidentally lowered over a 150 foot cliff. For the entire night Joe hangs suspended over the cliffs edge in darkness, slowly freezing to death. As the reader we here quotes from Joe stating, “with each gust of wind I was getting colder” and “my thighs had cut off circulation and both legs felt numb”. This shows that Joe has no control over the situation as is relying solely on Simon to keep him alive. However Simon knew that Joe was a dead-weight, and that he will never be able to pull him back up off the cliff by himself. With both men stuck and freezing to death someone had to act or they would both die. Without thinking twice Simon knew what he had too do. ” The knife! The thought had came out of nowhere. Of course, the knife. Be quick, come on, get it.”,”The taut rope exploded at the touch of the blade and I flew backwards.” These quotes from Simon show how fast and swiftly people act despite the cost when they realize that their lives are at stake. Simon didn’t even consider the fact that when he cut the rope he was killing Joe. The only thing going through Simon’s mind at that time was the fact that, ” I was alive, and for the moment that was all I could think about.” This relates back to us as a species in that when it comes down to extreme life and death situations, for most people, self survival is the number 1 priority no matter the cost. Survival is simply hardwired into our brains, and we cant all be hero’s, sometimes we have to go further than we think we can in order to stay alive

The “Everest Movie” based on the book “Into Thin Air” by John Krakauer is a film describing one of the worlds worst mountaineering disasters. located on Mt Everest in 1996, this story showcases the true repercussions of what happens when things go wrong on the worlds tallest mountain, and how survival is a whole different element when you are 8,800 meters above sea level. 

The films begins as just another ordinary expedition for experienced guides Scott fisher and Rob Hall. The two guides along with Sherpa’s set off from base camp leading a large crew of ambitious yet inexperienced climbers. With everyone in good spirits and the weather looking positive the chances of reaching the summit were likely. How Rob had one main rule that must be followed when summiting the mountain. “At 2 o’clock we turn around, I don’t care if you are 100 yards from the summit, you turn around.” Rob made sure this rule was crystal clear throughout both crews so that when the clock stuck two on summit day, everybody was heading back down the mountain. despite what Rob had been preaching over the entire journey when summit day came around and the clock struck 2, a few crew members were very reluctant to turn around, and were confident that they would reach the summit within less than an hour. Rob ended up giving in to their demand. Because of this one act, 8 people ended up dying that night, and if it wasn’t for a few strong people’s will to survive, there would have been many more casualty’s. the clock struck 4, and the longer the crew took to reach the summit the greater the odds began to pack up against them. As the weather began to pour in and the oxygen tanks ran out things on Everest took a turn for the worst. A close up shot of robs face after he has just looked at the oxygen left in the tanks shows us that he knows they are really in trouble. His distressed shocked facial expressions tell the viewer that something bad is about to happen, and indeed it did. Not long after the oxygen ran out things began to take a turn for the worse. As the viewer we see a scene of leader Scott Fisher desperately trying to save a crew members life who has ran out of oxygen, by doing this he is putting his own life at a serious risk as well. This shows how far people will go in order to allow others survival even if they are jeopardizing their own.  Despite the crew disobeying Robs rule of turning around at 2, and the oxygen tanks running on empty, Scott Fisher and Rob Hall were still the last ones off the mountain. This shows pure courage and will to protect and allow others survival. Because of this, Scott Fisher passed away when he froze to death. Scott went down with the ship a true hero that day, if it wasn’t for his determination to save others, there would have been many more dead.

This film relates to “Touching The Void” in a very similar way as they are both stories about mountaineering survival. In “Touching the Void”, Simon risks his own life (just like Scott and Robb did) to try save Joe and get him down the mountain. Simon could just as easily walked away from Joe and make it down the mountain unfazed, but instead he helped him because he has what it takes to be a leader just like Scott and Robb and save lives.

“127 Hours” directed by Danny Boyle is a film based on a horrific event that happens to a man named Aron Ralston. Set in The Blue John Canyon just outside of Utah in 2003 this thriller shows how some people will sacrifice anything to stay alive in extreme situations.

Imagine being trapped, in the middle of nowhere, no food, no water no nothing. Just yourself. This was Aron Ralston’s reality for 5 whole days. Aron had been adventuring in the Blue John Canyon when he accidentally dislodged a 5 ton rock out of a crack in the earth. The rock fell down into the bottom of the trench where it landed straight on Arons right arm and lodged itself in the crack. Aron was completely stuck, his arm was jammed between the canyon wall and a 5 ton boulder. Unless he wanted to die there, the only way out was through sacrificing his arm. After 5 brutal days of sitting in the trench hopping someone or something would hear his cries Aron knew what he had to do. He had a small, blunt pocket knife and enough leverage to break the bone. So without thinking twice, Aron proceeded to cut his arm off and free himself from the rock. an extreme close up shot of Arons face is shown as he begins to nudge away the flesh from his right arm. This shot shows how much immense pain he is currently in, the blood around his mouth and all over his top shows how desperate he is to get of this rock. This scene shows us as a viewer how when it comes to extreme survival situations, humans sometimes have to incorporate animalistic behaviours and shut down their emotions so that they can escape death. Although Aron is in extreme pain he knows that he needs to keep cutting so he shuts down his thoughts and carries on. Through looking at this scene in the film we learn that we humans can overcome anything if they set their mind to it,  but it takes a certain type of person and an incredible level of mental strength to cut off their own arm, climb out of a cave in shock, and live to tell the tail. Aron Ralston is a prime example of how far people will go in order to stay alive.

This film closely relates to “Touching The Void”. When Simon is forced to cut the rope and sentence Joe to death. This is very similar to how Aron was forced to cut his arm off. In both situations a knife was used to cut of the burden that was holding back the men from survival. In Simons case he had to sacrifice Joe in order to stay alive and in Arons, it was his arm. This shows that there is always an option for survival, its just weather you have enough mental strength in order to overcome those extreme situations and have the determination to want to live.

“Alive” is a 1993 American survival film based on a true story. Directed by Frank Marshall this film follows the story of an Uraguyan rugby team whose plane crashed over the Andes mountains. With the few remaining survivors stranded for 72 days, they are forced to do unthinkable things in order to stay alive.

After being stranded for a few weeks and being completely deprived of food, everyone knew what had to be done, but know one wanted to speak up. Finally, as everyone was slowly dying of starvation, team captain Roberto Canessa made a choice, it wasn’t going to be pretty, or civilized, but in order to survive you need to make tough choices.” What about our innocents what’s gonna become of our innocents if we survive as cannibals., “. This shows how when you are placed in a life and death survival situation, Your morals and beliefs have to go out the door. What other people are going to think of you doesn’t matter. Survival is all you should be thinking about, and what will actions will benefit you and what won’t. For the rugby team of “Alive” this is exactly what they did. Despite what people might think, if they didn’t eat those dead bodys the crew would not be here to tell the story today. Survival is the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, and how far you are willing to go, and what you are prepared to overcome, will determine how long you stay alive. For the crew of “Alive” this choice didn’t come easy, but it only takes on leader to step up, one person with the will to survive and their determination will influence others and give them the strength to overcome what it takes in order to survive.

This film relates and is very similar to “The Everest Movie”. In both movies there are two large groups of people whom are very experienced in the mountains. In both movies if it wasn’t for leaders who carried determination and an eager to survive and to save others, then a lot more people would be dead. It’s those critical decisions that determine life and death and in both movies they are shown clearly. For “Alive”, when Roberto took the first bite of human flesh, and for “The Everest Movie”, when Scott fisher sacrificed his life to save another climber. These impossible decisions show how far people will go in order to save others and stay alive themselves. 

To wrap things up, Survival is more than just someones will to survive. It is how far you are willing to go beyond your physical and mental comfort zones in order to survive and ultimately thrive in any environment you are placed in. As humans, without the will and determination to survive in any condition we would be nothing. We can even overcome our own body by cutting off arms and legs in order to escape places and stay alive. we can literally do anything if we set our minds to it. However it takes a certain type of person, a certain level of mental strength to overcome these survival situations. Every single one of my texts and films I have talked about today has displayed at least one person that has got what it takes in order to survive in any survival situation. Aron Ralston, Simon Yates, Scott Fischer, Roberto Canessa, these people all have an extreme level of strength and will go further than unthinkable limits in order to stay alive in a survival situation.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Daniel, you have made some sound connections thus far. However, I was not aware that your final text would be “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. This text is a Junior text and is not suitable for this Year 11 assessment. Please see me in class and I will give you a Year 11 Reading list.


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