“They overcame the impossible… by doing the unthinkable” It is evident in the texts “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Alive” directed by Frank Marshall, “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce and “Boy Soldier” written by Cola Bilkuei all show some sort of survival technique. In the texts “Rabbit Proof Fence” and  “Touching The Void” there is also the use of the inner conscience and emotional aspects as well as other survival techniques that help these key characters ultimate survival. All of these texts present to us the story of one’s survival and what they had to go through to insure their survival.



“If you succeed with one dream, you come back to square one and it’s not long before you’re conjuring up another, slightly harder, more ambitious – a bit more dangerous” -Joe Simpson.

The nature of survival was shown in the text ‘Touching the Void’ written by Joe Simpson, Joe and Simon show the aspect of survival in the peruvian Andes, siula grande throughout the text which is presented through joe thinking about other people’s survival to sacrifice his own… This was shown when he is faced with a physical injury that could be fatal and not only predestine to his fate but the fate of his partner simon yates. The text states “The sudden jerk turned me outwards and instantly i was falling”  “it wasn’t just broken, it was ruptured, twisted, crushed, and i could see the kink in the joint and knew what had happened. The impact had driven my lower leg up through the knee joint.” because of joe’s injury he knew it was going to be impossible to get down the mountain as he was above 19,000 feet and knew he was likely going to die as the next text states “dying had seemed so far away, yet now everything was tinged with it” i think this means everything joe could do and couldn’t he could die! This proves joe knew there was a huge possibility for his death but  was always thinking of simon  as he didn’t want simon to die with him and knew simon would have to leave him. “Simone would not be able to get me up it. He would leave me. He had no choice.” “either he would die in his seat or be pulled from it by the constant strain of my body.” “he would be colder than me.”  “ i hope simon doesn’t die, that’s hard… he shouldn’t have to die for me.” simon also knew joe was not going to make it down the mountain but knew he would  either make it down by himself or die trying to help joe “You’re dead…no two ways about it!” “i accepted without question that i could get off the mountain alone.” this shows that simon was afraid that if he helped joe he would die, he didn’t think of joe first and didn’t think of ways he might help joe but thought of himself.  Yet… Joe was willing to sacrifice himself for the sole purpose of making sure simon would be able to get down the mountain safely, joe was always thinking of simon when he was hanging over the cliff  he was not fearing for his life but for his partner simon this shows that joe was kind hearted, loving and caring.  


In the film “Touching the Void” by Joe Simpson, Joe shows us that an aspect he use to ensure his survival on the mountain was the use of his inner conscience or the “voice.” A first aspect of survival that was shown was when simon was put into a position where he was forced to make a quick decision about his own survival or risk the survival of other person like his partner simon, the position came when simon yates had to make a quick discussion about ending joe’s life by cutting the rope as joe was on the other end hanging over a crevasse. This scenario came when simon lowered joe over a cliff due to joe’s injury. Simon knew he would not be able to hold joe’s weight much longer. This is shown in the lines where simon describes the situation “ i couldn’t hold the weight much longer”… simon was forced into rational decision making and shows this in the lines “ the knife. The thought came out of nowhere. Of course the knife. Be quick, come on get it.”  Once the rope has been cut joe falls into a crevasse. He lowers himself deeper into the crevasse, and finds a small hole of light to escape. As joe attempts to descend the mountain siula grande, the “voice” in joe’s head takes over. The “voice” instructs joe to make time and distance goals to make his descent down the mountain faster and easier this is shown when the “voice” in Joe’s head instructs “the voice, and the watch, urged be into motion… i kept moving… the voice told me to reach that point in half an hour. I obeyed.” this shows that this “voice” in his head gave him determination and strength to kept going. This shows the reader that setting goals is a helpful aspect of survival, not only through survival but in life too.



“They overcame the impossible by doing the unthinkable”

The nature of survival was shown in the text “Alive” directed by Frank Marshall, Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based upon piers paul reads 1974 book Alive: which details the story of a Uruguayan rugby team who were involved in the crash of Uruguayan air force flight 571 which crashed into the Andes mountains on Friday, October 13, 1972. The amazing, true story of a Uruguayan rugby team’s plane that crashed into the middle of the andes mountains, and their immense will to survive and pull through alive, forced to do anything and everything they could to stay alive on meager rations and through the freezing cold. Three characters who have enough screen time, dialogue, and interaction to achieve depth: Nando Parrado (Ethan Hawke), Antonio Balbi (Vincent Spano), and Roberto Canessa (Josh Hamilton)  it is primarily around these three that the story centers and shows their survival throughout the film and there will to survive. Their survival is shown through the will to live demands sacrifice. The film begins and ends with a close-up of an uncredited John Malkovich, who, playing one of the survivors, reflects back on the ordeal and how it has affected his life since then. Malkovich, although only on-screen briefly, effectively sets the stage for what is to come. The plane crash sequence, perfectly led up to and implemented, is hair-raising, perhaps the most terrifying crash ever shown in a movie  The tension of the moment is heightened, rather than declined, by the knowledge of what is to come. As the plane begins to rise and drop through air pockets, we’re put on the edge of our seats, dreading the inevitable. ILM, responsible for making the crash real, has created a memorable spectacle. The sight of seats, with people still in them, tumbling through a gaping hole in the back of the cabin is unforgettable. I believe the director is trying to show the horror and terrify events that took place and make us picture as though we are there which makes us feel filled with the emotional impact of the overwhelming events. The unpleasant subject of cannibalism is dealt with in alive. Because it was such an important factor to the survival of the sixteen. The film confronts the issue head-on, but deals with it sensitively rather than sensationalistically {subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions} There are no gruesome close-ups of half-eaten bodies. The characters react with genuine horror at what they have to do. The most graphic scene occurs past the midpoint of the film, in a wide shot of the crash/camp site, where several stripped skeletons can be seen half-covered by snow. Alive is an adventure story that grapples with themes more intense than most movies of the genre. The moral implications of eating the body of a dead friend or relative are not overlooked, nor is the spiritual cost of such a decision. The will to live demands sacrifices, none of which come cheaply. Religion and the existence of God are themes that Alive constantly returns to. The film alive Shows the emotional aspect of survival, this is shown when “Alive” stresses this metaphysical level in scenes such as one where a survivor, stranded without hope in the middle of a vast expanse of frigid ice and rock, exults that he has never felt closer to God. This is the same sort of euphoria that mountain climbers report after their harrowing climbs, and it may be absolutely true, or a case of rapture of the heights, or a little of both. They survived the impossible…by doing the unthinking. This shows the viewer that they were ordinary young men driven to the very limits of human endurance and the triumph of the human spirit.



The film alive directed by Frank Marshall is a true event of survival in the andes and overcoming the impossible by doing the unthinkable which i believe relates to the film Touching the void written by joe simpson , also a true event of survival in the peruvian Andes, siula grande. i think these two texts relate to one another as both have strong and thrilling experiences of survival in the mountains as Alive is centred in the Andes mountains while touching the void is centred in the peruvian Andes. Both share the aspects of the will to live demands sacrifice which is shown in the film alive by cannibalism and simon yates in the film touching the void by sacrificing the life of his partner to safe his own life.  They also compare to each other through the emotional survival which both texts present throughout the film such as in the text Alive survivors looked to god for help and thought they were then closest to god, also the emotional struggle the survivors went through of losing loved ones and friends. Touching the void shows the emotional survival though the emotional strength simon went through of believing he had killed his partner joe and joes emotional survival of believing he was going to die and then his emotional mindset of saving his friend and partner simon yates.



The nature of survival was shown in the text “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, shows the nature of survival through the eyes of 3 young girls. The rabbit proof fence is a film based upon the story of three australian aboriginal girls- molly craig, gracie fields and daisy karnpill craig and their dramatic escape and walk home from the moore river native settlement in the year 1931 it takes you through their journey of survival through the stolen generation. Molly the main characters shows her survival through leadership and having a positive mind set. Molly shows her leadership through the film technique of a tracking shot of the abduction scene which shows molly running ahead of the others which shows that molly is a leader – leading the others, she is strong and more powerful. Mollys leadership is also shown by a long shot of molly, the eldest of the three girls , organising to escape from moore river with her sister daisy and cousin gracie. Molly was very intelligent in this aspect of the film as she had planned to escape knowing it was going to rain which would cover their tarks and left in the morning knowing they would have the whole day to run from the tracker moodoo as the roll would not be called till evening. Molly also shows her leadership through the dialogue “come on daisy let’s go”  Which shows molly taking leadership through being an older sibling and instructing daisy that it’s time to leave and return home.  Molly always had a positive attitude and was always using her positive mindset to help her sister daisy and cousin gracie to keep going to reach their goal of getting back home to jigalong. positivity is shown through Molly’s dialogue “find that rabbit fence, we go home”  “ that tracker not gonna get us.” when daisy stops and says “no fence” molly takes her hand and stays positive saying “the fence will come back”  Molly is also shown keeping the girls walking with a game “i see an emu… i see a big kangaroo” molly shares her positivity and leadership when her younger sister daisy can no longer walk: “my legs, molly, they hurt, i can’t walk.” molly is shown in a medium shot picking up daisy and carrying her. Molly tries to keep the girls going: “don’t listen to him. He’s a liar.” and molly tries to persuade gracie: “if they see us, they’ll catch us… we’re nearly there.” and finally after hours of walking  and losing gracie she is able to say: “home.”  This show’s the viewer that having a positive mind set, knowing your surroundings, and being a leader can help you and others through survival whether it be mental or emotional survival to physical or social.



Boy soldier written by cola bilkuei is based on a true journey of his life as a child soldier. In 1987, cola bilkuei, a young boy from the dinka tribe in the southern sudan, was forcibly recruited into the sudan people’s liberation army. For three months, he and hundreds of other children from his tribe were marched from southern sudan to a military training camp inside Ethiopia. Once they arrived, exhausted and terrified, SPLA officers taught them how to handle a rifle, how to fight and how to kill. But cola knew there was a better life somewhere and he was determined to find it. Two years later, he escaped from the camp. Without money, a passport or official papers of any kind, he began a journey across the world that ended fourteen years later when he arrived in australia as a refugee. It is a story of cola’s extraordinary journey of survival. Cola shows his survival continuously throughout the text in the aspect of mental and emotional survival through positive thinking,  difficult decision making, and stepping up as a man. This is presented when cola is about to be taken to join the SPLA and has to step up, be a man and be responsible for himself. This is shown when the text states “always do as you are told, keep your eyes open and remember that all decisions are now in your hands, you are responsible for yourself.” “the realisation that the next day i would be leaving my childhood behind me for a life in the army” “their voices lifting me out of my childhood and into my adulthood.” “ here there are no children. Put your childish ways behind you, you are men, you are army men, you are soldiers” This shows that even though cola is a young boy he must step up and be a man if he wants to live through the army and he must treat himself as if he is a man as he will be forced to do things that are unthinkable.“ i had experienced what men twice or three times my age should not have had to endure, i felt like an old man. Worn down by the life that had been handed to me.” I think the army tries to implement being a man on the boys as they are going to be entering the life of a man not a child,  they are easier to intimidate, they do as they are told. They are also less likely than adults to run away and  don’t want army men acting like children.  Cola shows the aspect of mental survival through thinking positive and knowing what is right. Cola showed this through dialogue “instantly i knew, no matter what had been said to us before, no matter how many good things we’d been told, that this was not right, there was better life out there, somewhere” He also shows thinking positive and decision making through focusing on getting an education this is shown through dialogue “now, education was everything to me, i thought back to our family life, and how i had never been to school, and how education was held in low regard. In my mind, i seemed that all of our problems- as a family, as a tribe, as a people resulted from not being educated”  this showed that cola and others should get an education so the world can be a better place! It also showed that he valued his life and wanted to make the most of it, he wanted to get an education, be a refugee, so he could travel to a new country and make a better life for himself he thought if he got an education this would be more possible! This can relate to the reader as education is all around us, if you use it, you can go anywhere you wanna be.



The film Rabbit proof fence directed by Phillip Noyce is a survival story of three young aboriginal girls survival through the australian outback and through the stolen generation, which i believe relates to the text Boy Soldier written by cola bilkuei based on a true journey of his life as a child soldier. I believe these two texts relate to each other as both texts and characters Molly, Gracie and Daisy from Rabbit proof fence and cola from Boy Soldier both are taken from their peaceful homes in the outback- Jigalong in rabbit proof fence and southern sudan in boy soldier and taken to become people there aren’t.  They also compare to each other as cola is on a journey to find freedom while molly, daisy and gracie are on a journey to find home. Along their journey both texts experiance good and bad advice from strangers that help but also define their journey in a negative way to gracie being captured and taken back in the rabbit proof fence and cola being arrested and taken to prison in boy soldier. In both texts staying positive helped their survival in different ways to cola always thinking about the better things in life to education and getting a better life and molly always staying in perspective and having a positive mindset to help her sister daisy and cousin gracie as well as herself reach there destination of “home”



“ survival can be summed up in three words, never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.”-Bear Grylls.

It is evident in the four texts “Touching The Void” “Alive” “Rabbit Proof Fence” and “Boy Soldier” where key characters show how they ensured their survival when faced with life threatening situations, whether it was mental, emotional, physical or social aspect.  The authors Joe Simpson, Cola Bilkuei and directors Frank Marshall and Phillip Noyce show us through these texts the circumstances that people go through to ensure one’s or other’s survival. Each text that has been analised in this essay describes the effects to each discussion in a situation one makes for survival. From this the reader\viewer learns that to survive the will to live demands sacrifices, thinking about other people’s survival to sacrifice your own, through leadership and having a positive mind set and difficult decision making. One’s survival is often determined by their determination to survive and their mental strength that allows them to do so.


  1. Portia, in the first week of Term 4, you will be given time to finalise your “Significant Connections” assessment. Key areas to strengthen:
    1) Please read through your assessment carefully out loud, to find the punctuation (capital letters, full-stops and quotation marks), word, spelling and sentence errors. You need to tighten-up the accuracy of your assessment, overall.
    2) Edit text (plot) details that are not relevant for your point discussion: get to your point quicker. It would be beneficial for you to begin your point with the aspect of survival that you are discussing and only use evidence that is relevant to this discussion.
    3) You can edit your “comparisons” too to get straight to the connection you are making.
    4) Also, in the final lines of each paragraph where you state why this aspect of survival is important, ensure that you have clearly justified your reasons. These final judgements are a little brief.
    – Mostly editing and refining needed here; use your final time efficiently.

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