Significant Connections

1.8 Significant Connections  Molly Todd

The Nature of Survival



“I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring”.


‘The great wide sea’ written by M.H.Herlong,  ‘Rabbit proof fence’ directed by Phillip Noyce, ‘Touching the Void’ written by Joe Simpson and ‘Cast Away’ directed by Robert Zemeckis all show survival techniques. The texts all display different ways that people survive, maybe that having some experience and/or knowledge of what you’re doing, having a positive attitude to achieve your goal,  understanding how tracking works, setting time and distance goals and listen to your inner voice, you also need someone to fight for and keep you strong through the tough times and taking risks can give you more opportunities to survive.


‘The great wide sea’

The nature of survival was shown in the text ‘The great wide sea’ written by M.H.Herlong. The first aspect of survival that was shown in the text was that you need to have some experience and/or knowledge of what you’re doing.


This is shown in many parts of the text, but first when Ben and his brothers, Dylan and Gerry, first find out that there dad is missing. Before they went sailing around the Bahamas, their dad had taught Ben how to sail around the lake in there home town, this is very useful for when the are in this situation because Ben can then sail by himself, to try and get to safety. At the start of the book when their dad first tells them that they are going to sail around the Bahamas, Ben doesn’t like the idea of leaving home for that long even though he loves sailing. But his dad says “Like on the lake, Ben, you’ll love it.” If Ben was not previously taught then him and his brothers probably wouldn’t have survived. One part in the book when the storm starts to get very rough, Ben says “we’d done the storm drill at anchor a thousand times, but never at sea.” Even though they had not done it in the real situation Ben is able to keep his brothers calm and run through it just like all the other times.

Dylan was a big part of helping the brothers to survive as well, by having some knowledge of what they were doing. Since he had read heaps of sailing and navigation books before going on the trip, also his great knowledge about stars, he was able to roughly figure out where they were heading. This is shown in the text when Ben keeps telling Dylan that they are lost and are not going to get back, but Dylan never gives up to find out where they are or where they were. He tries to work out what speed they were going, what way the wind is going, when the wind changed and a lot of other things to find out what to do.


Having knowledge and/or experience of what you are doing also relates to the the book ‘Touching the Void,’ when Joe and Simon go to climb up the mountain. If they didn’t no what they were doing they would have had an accident much sooner, they also may not have known what to do when things went bad or if they were in trouble on the side of the mountain. One part in the book that shows that both Joe and Simon know what they’re doing is when they get to the base of the west face that they are going to climb, they do little day walks up the surrounding mountains to get used to the altitude and stay fit. Joe says when they are on one of their day walks that “If a climber has to slow his natural pace of that to his companion, the unfit climber will soon find himself struggling to keep up.” This tells us the reader that matching the fitness level of yourself to your partner will allow you to keep up and help each other when needed. You also have to have the skills to help one another in a survival situation and be safe. When Joe talks about the fitness levels and why they are training up the smaller surrounding mountains it lets us know that he knows what he’s talking about and that the risk of their lives aren’t as much at stake as someone who was just learning. The same as Ben and his brothers wouldn’t have survived if they didn’t have past experience out at sea.


‘The rabbit proof fence’

The nature of survival was shown in the film ‘The rabbit proof fence’ directed by Philip Noyce. The first aspect that was shown in the film is that you need a positive attitude to achieve your goal.

This is shown all throughout the film when the three girls are walking back to Jigalong. But first when Molly first tells Daisy and Gracie that they are going home, Gracie straight away doesn’t like the idea and says “We’re not going, are we Daisy. We like it here.” she says that she likes it here because she scared of getting caught and beaten, But Molly keeps positive and says “We just keep walking, the rain will cover our tracks.” Another point in the film when Molly stays positive is when they are hiding from the tracker in the bush, the weathers nice and sunny and Gracie says “No rain, tracker gonna get us” Molly then shuts down her negativity straight away and says “tracker not gonna get us!” and walks away before Gracie can say anything else. Mollys positive attitude in the film is what gets her and Daisy home, if she wasn’t pushing through the hard times they would have just given up and become caught by the tracker. In the end Gracie doesn’t make it home, this is because the whole way she was saying that they were going to be caught and didn’t have faith in herself or Molly.


A second aspect that was shown in the film is that understand how tracking works helps you to survive.

Molly makes it home because all throughout the film she avoids being caught by Moodoo (the tracker), first when she decides to get out of moore river and go home she waits until its going to rain so then the she can escape easily from the settlement, the rain is such a big help for her, Daisy and Gracie to get away because the rain had covered their tracks before Moodoo had even figured out they had ran away and then he had no clue to witch way they went. Molly sternly says to the young girls “He not gonna get us. We just keep walking the rain will cover the tracks.” This shows that she is very confident that the rain will be a huge help in their getaway. Another point in the film when Molly avoids being caught is when they make it to the river, Molly takes Daisy’s bag and places it upstream to look like they have walked that way but they actually walked down stream, walking in the river also shows no signs to where they have been or going, this is a huge help considering the rain had stopped. If Molly had not done this Moodoo probably would have caught up to them since he is on a horse which is much faster than walking, tricking him gave them a great head start to get further away. One more scene in the film when Molly’s knowledge of tracking is a huge help is when they find Mavis (a young aboriginal lady that used to go to Moore river settlement) along the way, Mavis lets them inside, gives them food and water and offers them to stay the night with her. The girls really like Mavis and stay the night but as they are sleeping a car’s lights shine in the room and they know it’s going to be trouble because only rich city people had cars or the police/ trackers. The girls run out into the bushes shown with a long shot of them in the dark, Molly grabs a tree branch and runs with it behind them covering the tracks back up with dust. If Molly hadn’t of done this Moodoo would have caught them then and there because he would have followed the tracks to where they were hiding and only because of the dim lighting of the night was allowing them to hide behind a small bush without him seeing.   


‘Touching the Void’

The nature of survival was show in the text ‘Touching the Void’ written by Joe Simpson. The first aspect that was shown in the text was that you need to set time and distance goals and listen to your inner voice.


This was shown near the end of the film when Joe was crawling his way back down the glaser with his broken leg. The whole way down the mountain he was doubting that he may not make it in time to meet Simon and Richard, he states that “For a brief moment I wondered whether I had been deluding myself with the idea that I could possible reach the sun above.” This shows us that he keeps shifting his thoughts from being able to do it and not being able to do what he is pushing himself. But there was a voice that he keeped hearing making him determined to get there and go home. Whenever Joe wanted to rest and stop the voice would just nag him to carry on. He states “It was like there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions. The other mind rambled out about a disconnected series of images.” This part where Joe tells us about the voices lets us know that he does listen to the voices and it makes him feel like he isn’t alone and he could do it. The voice also kept pushing him to make it to a point in a certain amount of time and he listened, sometimes he found himself slacking, but the voice kept pushing him. If the voice was not there or if Joe had not listened, he probably wouldn’t of survived.


‘Cast Away’

The nature of survival was shown in the film ‘Cast Away’ directed by Robert Zemeckis. The first aspect in the film was that you need someone to fight for and keep you strong through the tough times.


This was shown all thought out the film when Chuck thought about giving up, but he never did because he knew that kelly loved him and that she would be waiting for him back in memphis. At the end of the film, 4 years after he went missing and lost on the island, when he is back home talking to his best friend he says “i’m so sad I don’t have Kelly, but i’m so grateful she was with me on that island.” When he says this we know that he would never had made it home if he had not loved her and if he didn’t know she loved him sat the time. Just because kelly has moved on and loves someone else he knows that it will be much easier to forget her and move on than it was to survive on that island. Chuck also shows that fighting for someone helps you to survive, when he finds a volley ball on the shore that washed up from the sea, he paints a face on it with his blood and calls Wilson. Wilson was a major part in helping Chuck because he almost kept him company, making Chuck feel like he wasn’t on his own on the island and that he had to look after him as well as himself. The text states “Don’t worry Wilson i’ll do the paddling you just hang on!” this is in the scene when he decides to go out to sea and find some sort of help. It shows us that he looks after Wilson and has somebody to talk to instead of worrying about being out there on the rough sea all by himself and over thinking the bad situations that could happen.


A second aspect of survival that was shown in the film was that taking risks can give you more opportunities to survive.

This is mainly shown near the end of the film when Chuck decides to make a raft and go out to sea. His raft is made out of long tree trunks tied together by rope he made out of flax and leaves, he also has a shelter made from two portaloo walls that he can leave down on the raft to shelter under or stand them up like a sail Chuck knows that even the raft is a risk. He states that “I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean than to stay here and die on this island.” this means that he has the courage to take a chance and possibly die than to stay there in the same situation hoping for something that would never happen. If he had not gone out to sea he would have had to live on that island all on his own for as long as he lived, but he makes it home because his risk of going out there on the sea gave him an opportunity to make it. In the film a close up of Chuck lying on his half sunken raft, just about to give up shows how he gets saved. A massive container ship sails pass in the background of chucks face it then zooms out to show a long shot of how small he looks on his raft compared to the huge ship, It then picks him up and he makes it safely home, because of the risk he took.


Taking risks which can give you more opportunities to survive also relates to the book ‘Touching the Void’ because Joe takes the risk to lower himself deeper into the crevasse. Joe was very scared and nervous to go lower because he wouldn’t be able to come back up the rope, he had no strength left. If there was nothing at the bottom of the crevasse he would die down there but he still would die on the ledge. If Joe had not gone deeper into the crevasse he wouldn’t have had another opportunity to make out alive, even if there was nothing down there he still tried. Joe states in the text “I already knew that I wasn’t going through that madness again, I threw the rope down to the right and let myself slide of the edge. If there was nothing down there I didn’t want to come back.”Joe wouldn’t have survived if he had not gone deeper into the crevasse and similarly as Chuck wouldn’t have survived if he hadn’t gone out to sea.



From the survival stories, I have learned that everybody faces their problems in different ways, although some of them will relate to one another. Just like Joe in ‘Touching the Void’ and Chuck in ‘Cast away’,  they both take risks. I think survival is the way that someone handles a tough time, whether it’s mentally, emotionally or physically. These stories have given me more ideas on what to do and how to handle things if I was in a similar situation and reading and watching these stories have changed my view on the whole aspect of survival. I feel like what happens to you and how your life turns out is highly influenced on how well you take on these situations. Relationships can get stronger when you are in a survival situation just like Ben and his brothers,  they had to work together to survive. Although some people have no one to help them tough time, because no one is there. Just like Chuck, he was the only one on that island and he had to make his own friends in his own individual way (Wilson). Joe also had to survive on his own because Simon had already gone down the mountain and wasn’t there to help him. The characters in the texts I read and watched faced situations that would have affected their whole life in negative ways if they didn’t have the experience of what they were doing, if they didn’t have a positive attitude the whole way through to the end, understanding how tracking works, if their inner voice wasn’t with them, if that someone to fight for and keep them strong wasn’t with you through the tough times and if they did not take risks.


‘For me, survival is the ability to cope with difficulties, with circumstances, and to overcome them.’ -Nelson Mandela

One Comment

  1. Molly, 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 any punctuation (capital letters, full-stops and quotation marks), word, spelling and sentence errors.
    2) Re-read through your final judgements about how your texts show your idea: are these complete, clear?
    3) Is all of your evidence on the text relevant? Make final editions to strengthen your argument overall.


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