09/06/12: Jon Krakauer: Into the Wild

Jon Krakauer’s biography, Into the Wild, demonstrates rhetoric statements regarding the misconceived decisions and judgements of Chris McCandless, a self seeking individual who starves in the Alaskan wilderness. Although the novel attempts to present itself in a neutral and indifferent stance toward the outcome of McCandless, Krakauer eventually indicates his perception of McCandless’s error in behavior without directly acknowledging it. I appreciate Krakauer’s moderate position on the issue by not exaggerating the story. He simply presents the facts of McCandless’s journey and decisions in a way to allow the reader to judge McCandless without extreme biase already existing. For example, even though McCandless’s actions infuriate me due to his irresponsibility, another individual may disagree with me and declare their appreciation of his passions and “fight the power” attitude.

Krakauer attempts to input relevant encounters between McCandless and society. For example, when Jim Gallien drove McCandless to the Stampede Trail in Alaska, he noticed  McCandless “had no ax, no bug dope, no snowshoes, no compass” and  “thought the hitchhiker’s scheme was foolhardy and tried repeatedly to dissuade him” (5). If McCandless could see the forest past the trees, he would have accepted no need to escape society since society is attempting to persuade him from making an irresponsible and expensive decision on behalf of his welfare.

In relation to the rhetorical triangle, Krakauer represents the writer, who informs his audience of young adults to reevaluate their impulsive decisions in order to prevent any regrettable mistakes. Krakauer imposes the ideology of choosing between conforming to society or perishing through personal ignorance. In addition, Krakauer illustrates his placid writing style in order to not generate altercations amongst his audience or with the McCandless family. Regardless of his attempt, writers usually tend to leave a mark on their work, and Krauker’s intentions were to educate his viewers to direct their passions in a more productive manner in comparison to McCandless.


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