Into the Wild by John Krakauer is a rare book in which its author freely admits his bias within the first few pages. “I won't claim to be an impartial biographer,” states Krakauer in the author’s note, and indeed he is not. Although it is not revealed in the author's note whether Krakauer's bias will be positive or negative, it can be easily inferred. Krakauer's explanation of his obsession with McCandless's story makes it evident that Into the Wild was written to persuade the reader to view him as the author does; as remarkably intelligent, driven, and spirited. This differs greatly from the opinion many people hold that McCandless was a simply a foolhardy kid in way over his head. Some even go as far as saying that his recklessness was due to an apparent death-wish. Krakauer uses a combination of ethos, logos and pathos throughout his rendition of McCandless’s story to dispute these negative outlooks while also giving readers new to this enigmatic adventure a proper introduction.
An essential part of Krakauer's argument rests upon convincing the reader that he has the authority to accurately interpret the facts of McCandless’s life. His attempt begins in chapter fourteen, where his main focus is explaining why he thinks McCandless did not go to Alaska seeking death. Krakauer establishes his credibility by drawing upon his own experiences and comparing them to McCandless’s. “If something captured my undisciplined imagination, I pursued it with a zeal bordering on obsession...” (134). This passion, he believes, is the same feeling McCandless felt while traveling across the country. At age 23, only a year younger than McCandless at the time he went to Alaska, Krakauer's preferred thrill was mountain climbing (135). During ...
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...en writing a book based on ethos, logos and pathos, it is very challenging for an author to stay completely objective. In Krakauer’s case, his bias comes out strongly in certain chapters, sometimes detracting from his argument. Some faults exist in his credibility and logic, but his use of emotional appeal makes up for what those areas lack. Krakauer does an excellent job developing the character of Chris McCandless. The author brings him back to life with his descriptions and is able to make him tangible to the reader. The discussion over what McCandless's thoughts were when he went on his fatal trek will continue as long as his memory lasts. Ultimately, the readers of Into the Wild are left to form their opinion of McCandless, with Krakauer nudging them along the way.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor Books, 1997. Print.
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