Between a Rock and A Hard Place, Aaron Ralston



'you can imagine using it to climb up the inside of a chimney' - Direct address helps the reader to actually imagine it. Also by comparing it to a chimney, it gives familiarity to the reader to further help them visualise it.

'scraping quake' - Descriptive language 'scraping' evokes the sound the rock makes and the 'quake' describes the feel of the vibration made.

'round rocks below'- the alliteration of the 'r' sound is used to emphasise the speed and smoothness of movement.

'Fear shoots my hands over my head' - short sentence, direct. Emphasises how Ralston is no longer in control of his actions. His hands are working by themselves, driven by fear and not rational decisions.

'Then silence' - Minor sentence suggesting how the incident stops as quickly and as suddenly as it began.

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'rock smashes' - Violent verb 'smashes'. Also an onomatapoeia.

'Good God, my hand.' - Emotive language used. Religious  language infers extreme emotion and desperation.

'But I'm stuck' - Simple, short sentence to convey starkness of situation.

'Searing-hot pain' and 'flaring agony' - Graphic and metaphorical description makes the reader think of fire to help convey the burning pain he felt.

'My desperate brain conjures up..'- Metaphor, magical description.

'Nothing.'- Text ends with a single word, 'Nothing'. Stark and hopeless. Leaves reader uncertain of what will happen next.

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'I come to another' - this shows he has done this before, suggesting experience.

'different geometry' - shows competence and expertise on the topic.

'I can move up or down the shoulder-width crevice fairly easily as long as the friction contact stays solid between the walls and my hands, feet and back' - very detailed description of technique he is going to use. Gives impression of skill and experience-competence and confidence.

'instictively'- previously, Ralston's movements were calculated and planned, but at this point he acts instinctively, and this gives a sense of foreboding.

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  • 'I come' - Account is written in present tense. This creates a sense of immediacy , helps the reader to imagine the experience.
  • The turning point of the text comes from 'As I dangle...'- these words suggest being suspended precariously and it foreshadows that a disaster is about to happen.
  • As the accident is described, the tone changes completely as Ralston starts to panic.
  • Final word 'Nothing' suggesting bleak prospect for escape.
  • First paragraphs show his expertise and confidence.
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  • First Person
  • Present tense for immediacy
  • Careful, technical description
  • Graphical and emotive language
  • Metaphor of fire to describe pain
  • Uncertain conclusion as Ralston appears isolated and hopeless
  • Description of time distorted by experience of accident
  • Short sentences emphasise shock and lack of hope
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