Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild

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There are so many unexplored areas of the United States, that many trek into the unknown. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer tells of the true story of a young Emory graduate named Chris McCandless who sets out to survive in the wilderness of Alaska without proper preparation. He is found dead in September 1992 at the age of 24.

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The author retells the destressing yet inspiring events that led up to Chris McCandless’ death. Jon Krakauer utilizes logos and ethos, vivid imagery, and anecdote to explain that McCandless’ journey into the dangers of Alaska was not so unusual and crazy that others have perceived it to be.

One of the main reason on why Krakauer wrote this book was to show that Chris was not some reckless or arrogant kid but instead a smart, courageous man. In order to do this, Krakauer uses the rhetorical devices of logos and ethos. Krakauer notes that, Chris was an Emory Graduate where he had been a columnist for and editor for the school newspaper and distinguished himself as a history and anthropologist with a 3.72 GPA (Krakauer, 20). Krakauer does this in order to show to the audience that there was much more to Chris’s story than him being completely insane. Chris was intelligent and was on the way to becoming an incredibly successful man. This shows a side of Chris that appeals to people’s logos and makes them think differently of this boy.

The question that then pops into one’s mind is, How could such a bright kid make such a thoughtless mistake? This intrigues the reader and keeps them immersed in the book. An example of ethos is in the fourth chapter of the novel where Krakauer describes Chris on his two-month journey in the United States. He mentions how McCandless’s parents hired a private detective. The investigator began an extensive search, and finally found information in December, he learned from an inspection of tax records that Chris had given away his college fund to OXFAM. (Krakauer 31).

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