Literary and Rhetorical Devices in into the Wild
In the story Into the Wild you follow a man by the name of Chris McCandless and his questionable thoughts. The author of a novel always plays an essential role in portraying the purpose to the audience. The story was written by a man with the name Jon Krakauer. Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, who is primarily known for writing stories about the outdoors, mostly mountain climbing. Jon Krakauer utilizes vivid imagery, specific details from Chris’ journal, and suspenseful foreshadowing to explain McCandless’ journey into the dangers of Alaska.
Imagery is used throughout the entire book, describing the Alaskan frontier along with the roads and trails Chris journeyed through to get there. One example of imagery from the book is found is, “Between the flinty crests of the two outermost escarpments of the Outer Range runs an east-west trough, maybe five miles across, carpeted in a boggy amalgam of muskeg, alder thickets, and veins of scrawny spruce (10). Adding discrete diction about the obscure geography of the wilderness helps the readers visualize the struggles that Chris faced. The author chooses to utilize jargon in order to add reality to the novel and also amplifies imagery by providing more concrete details.
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As for logos, it was used multiple times throughout the story but mostly in chapter eight and nine. In those chapters, Krakauer tries to convince readers that McCandless is not the only one that had those unhinged thoughts. Chapter 8 is homed in on Gene Rossellini, John Waterman, and Carl McGunn, and chapter 9 focuses on Everett Ruess. During these chapters, Krakauer connects similarities between McCandless and these four men. The arguments are presented in a logical format with evidence supporting the claims, which could potentially change the audience’s views on McCandless. Also, the author adds in that Chris was an Emory Graduate where he had been a colonist for, and editor for, the school newspaper and distinguished himself as a history and anthropologist with a 3.72 GPA (20). Krakauer includes this information for the audience in order to demonstrate that there was more to Chris’ story than him just being a psychopath.
Jon Krakauer reveals Chris McCandless’ death in the second chapter of Into the Wild. The addition of Jack London’s epilogue from White Fang is the first hint that Chris McCandless did not survive. The excerpt from White Fang states that Alaska was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadnessIt was masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life (9). Krakauer chooses to add this passage from Jack London in order to create suspense and mystery. The sense of loneliness and darkness of Alaska the readers receive creates an urgency to keep reading.
Into the Wild tells the story of a young, daring, courageous, yet crazy man whose wildest dream was to survive off the land in Alaska. The author, Jon Krakauer writes the unique novel that describes the events that lead to Chris’ unfortunate death. Krakauer integrates vivid imagery of Alaska, detailed jargon and diction, and foreshadowing of Chris’ fate to explain his sorrowful yet inspiring journey into the wild.