In his novel Into the wild , Jon Krakauer uses rhetorical devices to convey that Christopher McCandless was not a suicidal kid. McCandless's quest for the truth in the wild is something that everyone goes through, including the author himself. Krakauer writes to the majority of his audience who believes that McCandless set out on a death wish, leading him to his fate. He uses his own story to prove that Christopher McCandless was not who the audience perceived him to be. Krakauer uses logic and emotions to show that he and McCandless had similar traits. McCandless, like anyone else, was searching for truth.
Krakauer shed light into Christopher McCandless's personality because it determined that he was a kind yet adventurous person. Krakauer wanted the audience to see that their was more to Chris than his idea of criticizing authority and defying society. He demonstrates this by establishing Christopher McCandless's personality. Krakauer learned from teammate Eric Hathaway, “McCandless would wander the seedler quarters, chatting with prostitutes and homeless people, buying them meals and suggesting ways to improve their lives.”(113) This revealed that McCandless did have a caring personality. On the other hand McCandless's carefree personality was reflected in a letter he wrote to Ron, where he emphasized “If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotomous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life.”(57) Krakauer included this letter in his book because it appeals to logic and offers Chris's own idea that clearly describe the joy that one may experience in his or her life and how to achieve it.
Krakauer creates credibility by using strategies that demonstrate his comparisons with Christopher McCandless, while also showing that Chris was sane enough to make his own decisions regarding Alaska. One of the reasons why Krakauer wrote this book was because he felt that he and Chris had similar traits. “I disappointed my father in the usual ways, like McCandless, figures of male authority aroused in me a confusing medley of corked fury and hunger to please. Krakauer believes that he, like McCandless was also misguided in his journey, most of which did not improve anything in his life like they were expected to such as “When I decided to go to Alaska that April, like Christopher McCandless, I was a raw youth who mistook passion for insight and acted according to obscure, gap ridden logic.”(155) Krakauer's credibility is increased because he noticed that he went into his travels with the same understanding as Chris. Their actions are questionable, but the audience can relate.
An emotional appeal is created by Krakauer from the use of foreshadowing. To describe McCandless's relationships with those he met on his journey. Chris's fate is foreshadowed when Borah revealed “I noticed he was crying. That frightened me. He wasn't planning on being gone all that long; I figured he wouldn't have been crying unless he intended to take some big risk and he might not be coming back.”(68) The audience begins to feel dread because they know that Chris might not make it out alive. This is the turning point in the story because we are given a different side of Chris. This shows his weakness. It is also frustrating because we wonder why McCandless would embark on a journey so dangerous that he might not make it out alive. Chris says goodbye to Wayne Westerberg in a postcard, “It might be a long time before I return south. If this adventure proves to be fatal, and you don't ever hear from me again, I want you to know that you're a great man. I now walk into the wild.”(69) McCandless developed a deep relationship with everyone he met on his journey. The audience grieved with Chris's parents after his death,
As you can see the author and Christopher McCandless were not all that different. When you come to a point in time when you question the world around you, it is a significant part of your life. Christopher came to that point and it caused him to want to embark on a journey where he could see truth. Christopher wanted to experience new things. He wanted to live life to the fullest. That doesn't make him suicidal, that makes him a free spirit. The fact that he did not make it out alive is completely in the hands of luck and chance.