Nature Of Survival

“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” – Joshua Graham

To survive circumstances one must fight even if the odds are against you. This idea was shown in the texts “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Apollo 13” directed by Ron Howard, “Rabbit proof fence” directed by Phillip Noyce and “The Martian” directed by Ridely Scott. All of these texts show aspects of survival. In the text “Touching The Void” and “Rabbit Proof Fence” both use the use of inner conscience and other key techniques to make the character’s survive. All these texts show a story of one’s survival and what they had to do to achieve this.


Touching The Void

The nature of survival was shown in the text “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson. This was shown by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates showing us that to survive it is essential to have these aspects, rational decisions in difficult scenarios and never giving up on yourself.

The first aspect used In “Touching The Void was rational decision making made by Simon Yates when he cut the rope to let Joe Simpson to fall into a crevasse. This happened when Joe fell and broke his leg and Simon had to lower him down the mountain and ended up lowering him down a edge of a cliff. After a while Simon was getting tired of holding on to Joe This was shown when Simon says

“I couldn’t hold the weight much longer”..”I kept stamping my feet. I was trying to hold the collapse of the seat but it wasn’t working. I felt shivers of fear… I can’t hold it, can’t stop it.”

This shows that Simon couldn’t hold Joe for much longer. Simon was convinced that Joe was going to die so he had to make a rational decision quick about their situation to survive. We see Simon using rational decision making when he says “The knife. The thought came out of nowhere. Of course the knife. Be quick, come on get it.” This shows when there is you and someone else’s life is at risk an individual would save themselves over the other person because they are scared of dying and would rather the other person die for the sake of their own life.


A second aspect of survival is never giving up. This was shown in the text after the rope was cut when Joe fell down 100 ft and into a crevasse, surprised that he lived considering he has a broken leg. We see this when Joe said “Alive !…laughed again, a real happy laugh.” Joe realizes that he can’t climb up the crevasse with his broken leg so he decides to decent down the crevasse and later on finds a hole to break through to the surface. As Joe attempts to decent Siula Grande, the voice takes over Joe. The voice tells him to set distant goals to make descending the mountain easier. This is shown when Joe’s voice said:  “The voice, and the watch, urged me into motion… I keep moving…. The voice told me to reach that point in half an hour. I obeyed.” This shows that some people just need determination to achieve their goals no matter where it comes from. This also relates to other moments in the world like when marathon runners run for a long period of time and how they need encouragement for them to do well. This aspect of survival helped Joe return to their camp and it ensured him to survive as he believed he could’ve.


Apollo 13

The nature of survival that was shown in this film “Apollo 13” directed by Ron Howard. The pilots on board The Apollo 13 ship showed us that to survive you must fight no matter the odds and to use what you have in what scenario your in.

The first aspect that was used in “Apollo 13” was when all of the pilots in the film. Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise when they didn’t give up when their oxygen tank was running out and fought against all odds, instead they just instantly changed their mission from going to the moon to getting back to earth safely shown when Jim said “We just lost the moon.”

After the oxygen tank exploded they had too much carbon dioxide poison and in order for them to survive they had to conserve their power to re-enter earth’s atmosphere. Against all odds was used in this scenario when we see a cutaway shot when everyone was freaking out about how they won’t get back so Jim Lovell says “Let’s work the problem people let’s not make things worse by guessing.” This aspect of survival can also be related to Touching The Void when Joe was stuck in the crevasse with a broken leg and he used but yet he fought against all odds.

This shows that in both scenarios with the pilots of Apollo 13 and Joe Simpson even though they are in a bad situation and death is not that far off and there is near to no hope they still try to solve the problem against the odds because they refuse to die and want to make it home to their family.


The second aspect that was shown in this film was using everything they have. This was shown when their oxygen tank exploded and they had to improvise with the help of the ground team who were simulating their situation so that the pilots can get home. They had to end up creating their own carbon dioxide filter from scratch using nearly everything they had on the ship. This was shown when one of the ground team members said with the director using a high angle wide shot “Gentleman at this moment I want you to forget the flight plan, from this moment on we are improvising a new mission. How do we get our people home.” This shows that the ground team did not give up on the men in the sky.


Rabbit Proof Fence

In the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, Molly showed us that to survive  she had to use their knowledge about their surroundings and landscape in the desert.

We first see this aspect in Rabbit Proof Fence when Molly and her family are in Jigalong camp and they are hunting Iguana. A long shot shows Molly’s mother encouraging the girls to hunt and is teaching them to read animal tracks.

This helps Molly when she is taken from her home, Jigalong Camp, and has to get back using this aspect  through the Australian desert trying to survive. We know that the hunt when they are running away we know this because the newspaper said “the only trace and remains of the girls we found was a dead rabbit”. This shows that Molly uses her previous knowledge from hunting when her mum taught her back at Jigalong camp so that she can survive in the Australian outback.


A second aspect that was shown in Rabbit Proof Fence was Molly’s knowledge of tracking. This was shown when Molly, Gracie and Daisy were at the farm with an aboriginal servant who was serving the family who owns the farm. The aspect of survival was shown when they got caught and had to run away back into the wilderness. Whilst they were running Molly was dragging a branch along the ground so it would hide their trails. This shows Molly’s understanding of tracking because she knew this would ensure that they wouldn’t catch them. After this Moodoo says, “she pretty clever that girl, she wants to go home.” Moodoo’s words show that he knows and understands that Molly wants to see her family and homeland of Jigalong again. He relates to this because his daughter who is also a prisoner of Moore River as he wants her to be free from control of A.O Neville as well.


Molly also shows her understanding of tracking when they were in Moore River and they were told to “take the bucket out.” whilst doing this they saw a storm approaching and Molly knew that it is the best time to escape because the rain will cover their tracks. Molly ensures the Gracie and Daisy that it will work when she says: “He not gonna get us. We will just keep walking and the rain will cover our tracks.” After they escape Moore River it begins to rain and a three shot showing Molly laughing. This shows that Molly knew that the rain would cover their tracks. After this we see a long shot of Moodoo walking along the track leading his horse, trying to find their tracks. All of this shows Molly understanding of tracking because if Molly left during another time they would of not of had he rain to cover their tracks and Moodoo would have tracked them and found them.


The Martian

The nature of survival was shown in this film “The Martian” directed by Ridley Scott. Mark Watney played by Matt Damon showed us to survive it is essential to have knowledge of your surroundings and to have hope that you will survive.

The first aspect that was shown in “The Martian was hope made by the main character Mark watney when he decided not to give up and decided to have hope that he will live even when the odds are against him. This was shown in the film when after the other pilots on the Mars mission evacuated and leaving him behind assuming he was dead after hr got hit with a satellite dish in a storm and then instead on giving up and waiting to die on Mars he said to himself “I am not going to die here.” This shows that he had hope that he wasn’t going to die he convinced himself that he would not die there. Also whilst he was saying this Ridley Scott made that moment significant because whilst a mid shot of Mark Watney he made everything around the main character silent, up until the point where he said the quote This aspect of survival could also be referenced to Apollo 13 when their oxygen tank exploded and instead of giving up they decided to work out a way to get home.


The second aspect of survival shown in this film was knowledge of your surroundings. This was shown when Mark Watney realizes after being concerned that he won’t receive any help from Earth until much later after he runs out of food that he can last much longer on Mars because he remembers the station came with potatoes with dirt from Earth and human waste to help grow the potatoes. After realizing this he empties one of the biggest rooms in the station and lays dirt along the ground and plants them carefully along with the human waste as compost and surrounds the room with plastic fabric and in order to create for him he had to make the room hot enough to condensate he did this by making a man-made heater out of scratch using materials that were already in the station so that the room would get moist and wet for water for him to drink and grow more potatoes he then would repeats this process until he finds a way to get home of the recuse team comes. He knows how to do this because he is a botany this is proven when he said into the camera of his computer “Luckily I’m a botany, Mars will come to fear my botany powers” He does this to give himself confidence to himself that he has a strong chance of surviving even though he is in a rough position. All of this refers back to the aspect of survival knowledge of his surroundings because if he didn’t know what to do with his supply’s he had along in the station he would have been no where near close to surviving for as long as he did. This point also reminds me of Apollo 13 when the pilots had to make their own man-made carbon dioxide filter with just what they had lying around the ship.


Survival is usually determined by determination to survive and mental strengths to allow them to survive. These were used in the films and text: “Touching The Void”, “Apollo 13”, Rabbit Proof Fence and “The Martian”; Where key characters showing their survival and how they survived when they where in life-threatening situations.

2 Replies to “Nature Of Survival”

  1. Daniel, well done for selecting relevant details and specific examples (film techniques) and quotations from the texts to discuss the “nature of survival.” I encourage you to look at the aspects of survival that you have chosen in the opening lines of each point and make sure that the aspect you are discussing is CLEAR. I.e. State what the reader or viewer learns about survival- this topic sentence will give direction to each point. Also, the connections you make between texts needs developing; clearly make these connections with enough discussion to compare how the aspect of survival is shown across BOTH texts. Finally, please read through this writing out loud to find word errors and sentence breaks. You have two lessons this week to complete this work.

  2. Daniel, in the first week of Term 4, you will be given a lesson to finalise your “Significant Connections” assessment. Key areas to strengthen:
    1) Make sure that you have given enough specific details from the text to clearly support your ideas. Remember, you can not assume that the marker has read or viewed the text. Your description of relevant parts of the text, needs to be sufficient.
    2) Re-read the final sentences of each point and make sure that what you are saying about the nature of survival is clear and specific- Many of your final judgements seem incomplete here. Ask yourself, “what is the effect of these characters’ decisions?
    3) What do you mean by the aspect of survival “against all odds”? Is your point clear here?
    4) Lastly, complete all of your comparisons between texts with a summary about what the reader/viewer learns from this information about survival.
    Well done for your work thus far!

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