Jon Krakauer’s Use of Rhetorical Devices in Into the Wild
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Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, 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). ...
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...has never stayed in one place; he is always free and wandering around doing dangerous and exciting things with his life. Krakauer then proves that McCandless is not crazy, that many, in this case Tolstoy, feel his emotions. Some of these intensive emotions lead to the creation of dreams.
After reviewing Krakauer’s writing, we can see that he uses devices to connect to the reader. Whether it is providing epigrams or Krakauer’s own personal beliefs. He also proves to the reader that he shares the same ideology as McCandless making him a bit more creditable telling McCandless’ story. Then the reader can infer that McCandless believes that nature is a place of healing, and that it is his dream. As Krakauer demonstrating McCandless dreams, he gives us a chance to reflect on our own dreams.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.