Jon Krakauer’s Use Of Rhetorical Devices In Into The Wild

1305 words - 5 pages

In journalist, Jon Krakauer biography, Into the Wild (1996), he describes the adventure of Christopher McCandless, a young man that ventured into the wilderness of Alaska hoping to find himself and the meaning of life. He undergoes his dangerous journey because he was persuade by of writers like Henry D. Thoreau, who believe it is was best to get farther away from the mainstreams of life. McCandless’ wild adventure was supposed to lead him towards personal growth but instead resulted in his death caused by his unpreparedness towards the atrocity nature.
Many people were puzzled on why the young man decided to go on such an expedition without being properly prepared. His death has led to a controversy between whether he should be idolized for having the courage to follow his dream or repulsed for his grand stupidity. Although Krakauer never met McCandless, he provides his readers with personal examples that explain why the young man went on this journey. Expecting his readers to comprehend McCandless, Krakauer’s primary purpose is to help his readers understand the importance of embracing one's personal dreams. In order to achieve his purpose, he uses a variation of literary and rhetorical techniques. Some of these techniques include epigrams and ethos. These devices are essential to Krakauer’s purpose because they illustrate and explain the reasons why McCandless went into the inhospitable landscape of Alaska.
Epigrams are phrases in the beginning of a chapter that serve as a preface to larger themes. Krakauer uses this tactic in all of his chapters in order to present an insight of McCandless’ thoughts. An example that he uses is from chapter two, where McCandless carves into a piece of wood at the site where he was found, the words, “Jack London is king” (9). We can deduce that McCandless could have praise London’s values and felt the necessity to tell the world. In addition, these epigrams include highlighted passages from McCandless’ journal or quotes of authors that inspired Krakauer such as Paul Shepherd, Mark Twain, and Leo Tolstoy who are all adventurous people.
Within these epigrams, we have an insight to what McCandless thinks. In chapter eight, Theodore Roszak wrote the first quote of the epigram which describes how people are very determined but can sometimes become overly obsessed with something, resulting in, “remarkable insights” (70). Even so, they eventually loose communication with others. In chapter eight, the second passage is from Edward Hoagland. Who explains that people go into the wild to find meaning in their lives and renew themselves. He also states that one can only heal if one is not badly damaged, alluding to the dark side of the Alaskan wilderness. This epigram fits perfectly with his chapter because Krakauer is trying to show that McCandless was not crazy for doing what he did. In this chapter, Krakauer presents us with other people who share similar ideas as McCandless. These people never displayed a clear reason...

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