Analysis of Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild

Analysis of Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild

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Chapter 1 (Language/ Techniques used to create tone)

In the first chapter of Into the Wild, Krakauer is able to establish the tone by using certain words and techniques to further punctuate it. By the way he writes, it is clear that the tone is objective. He shows this by not inputting any of his own opinion or beliefs in the first chapter. Instead, he just went with the facts. In addition, his word choices show that the tone can also be classified as serious. “He persuaded the young hitchhiker to take the food as well” (7). Instead of “persuaded”, he could have simply used the word “offered” but he wanted to get it across clearly that Gallien really wanted him to accept the food and other equipment because he knew with the stuff Alex had that he would not make it out in the wilderness. This shows the seriousness of the situation. With careful word choices and techniques, Krakauer was able to set up the tone of the first chapter.

Chapter 3 (Logic/support of Krakauer’s viewpoint/perspective)

In chapter three of Into the Wild, Krakauer made a fascinating point about McCandless that he himself supports. “If McCandless felt estranged from his parents and siblings, he found a surrogate family in Westerberg and his employee” (18). The information Krakauer presents is true because McCandless seemed to be fond of Westerberg and the people in Carthage. As a parting gift for when McCandless first left, he gave Westerberg his “treasured 1942 edition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace” (19). Also, McCandless often wrote to Westerberg but never wrote to his family, his sister being the only exception. It was also said in one of his letters to Westerberg that he was a “great man” (69) while in another letter to his sister, he talks about his parents angrily, stating, “I’m going to divorce them as my parents once and for all” (64). From all the evidence provided, it is clear that Westerberg and the people in Carthage were more of a family to McCandless than his real family was.

Chapter 10 (Predict events or changes in relationship)

In the end of chapter ten, Krakauer explains how Sam McCandless is given the misfortune of telling his father and Billie that Chris is dead, but does not further explain their reactions to the news, giving an opportunity to infer their reactions. The first reaction Chris’s parents must have felt was shock and disbelief.

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It must have felt so surreal to them that they didn’t even want to believe that it was true. They must have also felt sad at some point; maybe even depressed. They had loved this man, raised him, been there with him since birth and the thought that Chris would no longer be with them anymore must hurt. Perhaps they even felt a tinge of anger toward him. After all, it was Chris who pushed his parents away and put his life in danger. Walt and Billie could have gone through many emotions and Krakauer gave an opportunity to explore all the different emotions they may have gone through.

Chapter 13 (Predict events or changes in relationships)

In chapter 13, Krakauer quotes Carine saying, “My parents can’t help wondering – and I admit I can’t, either – how things might have turned out different if Chris had taken Buck with him” (128), giving something to think about. If Chris had taken Buck with him, maybe he would still be alive. He seemed to be very fond of the dog and like Carine said, “There’s no way he would have taken the same kind of chances if Buckley had been with him” (128). On the other hand, Buck was already old when Chris went on his journey, so he most likely would not have been there for most of Chris’s adventures. This means that Chris would have still gone to Alaska and the outcome would have been no different. The only difference may have been that he would have taken it easier while Buck was still with him.

Chapter 8 (Intended and unintended effects of persuasive and/or propaganda techniques by Krakauer)

In chapter 8, Krakauer use of persuasive techniques affects many opinions greatly. For example, when Krakauer mentions that he thinks that McCandless was not suicidal and that his death was an accident, it makes people believe that McCandless was not suicidal either. Another example is Krakauer’s comparisons of McCandless to various others in the past such as Rosellini, Waterman, and McCunn. By comparison, McCandless seems more sane then all the other men leading people to believe that McCandless was not suicidal. It also makes people appreciate McCandless more and understand him better. Overall, the persuasive techniques Krakauer used are convincing and prove that McCandless is not at all that crazy and gives insight on why he went into the wild.

Chapter 18 (Character development)

In chapter 18, it is revealed that one of the last things that McCandless wrote were the words “HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED” (189). The quote is basically saying that true happiness is only achieved when shared with others, completely contradicting what McCandless had lived by all those years. Prior to the notation, he told Franz, “You do not need me or anyone else in your life to bring this new kind of light in your life” (57). This is what he previously lived by. He would push people away and keep them at a distance because he believed that he did not need others to be happy. As he neared the end of his life though, he must have realized that “unshared happiness in not happiness” (189). It is clear to see that McCandless’ journey into the wild changed him significantly.

Chapter 4 (Evaluate a current problem and its solution)

In chapter 4, McCandless is faced with a problem when he is unable to find his way to the ocean. After numerous failed attempts to get to the ocean, McCandless is just about to give up when he meets a group of duck hunters who drive him and his canoe to a fishing village near the Gulf of California. It’s quite ironic how McCandless gets driven to the ocean just after months of abandoning his car. Also, it sort of defeats the purpose of his whole journey if he gets driven to the ocean. McCandless once said to Westerberg, “Flying would be cheating” (67), so getting driven to the ocean would be cheating too. Lastly, the fact that he cried because he could not get to the ocean is a bit strange. He is normally such an optimistic guy, and the fact that he would cry over not getting to the ocean but did not cry when he abandoned his car is strange as well.

Chapter 7 (Use of figurative language and analogies)

In chapter 7, Krakauer’s use of figurative language makes it easier to understand McCandless. For example, when he says, “Many who knew him have commented, unbidden, that he had great difficulty seeing the trees, as it were, for the forest" (63). In the quote, Krakauer’s uses a metaphor to show how much McCandless lacked common sense. He is basically saying that McCandless had trouble seeing the obvious things in life. “It seems McCandless was drawn to women but remained largely or entirely celibate, as chaste as a monk” (65), is another example of Krakauer’s use of figurative language. In that quote, Krakauer uses a simile to compare McCandless and a monk. McCandless was indeed like a monk because they both abstained from sex. From all the figurative language Krakauer presented, it is better to understand McCandless and his complex

Chapter 14 (Effect of author’s point of view)

Krakauer’s opinion not only gives insight, but also influences opinions as well. This is shown in chapter 14 when Krakauer states that he does not believe that McCandless was suicidal and that his death was unplanned. His opinion greatly affects the content of the book too because if he believes in something, he will try to prove that it’s true. He even stated, “I won’t claim to be an impartial biographer,” in the author’s note, meaning that he may be biased at times. As for the opinion of others, it is mostly based on what Krakauer writes. If Krakauer has an opinion on something, people will most likely go with his opinion since he is the one with all of the knowledge. All in all, Krakauer’s opinion not only influences others opinions, but also influences the content of the book.

Chapter 2 (Language/Techniques to create tone)

In chapter 2 of Into the Wild, Krakauer’s use of language helps create the tone. For example, when Krakauer says, “The door was ajar, and taped to it was a disquieting note” (12), the word “disquieting” brings a sort of uneasy tone. It presents the ability to know that something is not right even before knowing what exactly is going on. In addition, when Krakauer says, “The Anchorage couple had been too upset by the implication of the note and the overpowering smell of decay to examine the bus’s interior, so Samel steeled himself to take a look” (12), the word “steeled” says that the situation is serious. If the situation weren’t so serious, then Samel would not have to “steel” himself. This is basically saying that something important may be revealed that is inside the bus. All in all, by Krakauer’s word choices, it is clear that the tone of the chapter is uneasy and serious.


Works Cited

Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. Anchor Books ed. Villard, NY: Random House, 1997. Print.
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