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Into the Wild Analysis

A Rhetorical analysis and teaching of the Jon Krakauer novel Into the Wild about young Chris McCandless.

Corey Snook

on 11 June 2014

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Transcript of Into the Wild Analysis

Rhetorical Exercise
As stated in the Class of 2014's presentation on chapter 4, Krakauer writes in an "analytical" and "observing" tone (Prezi). He is almost forced to since this is non-fiction. The majority of the chapter is primary source material. Krakauer uses letters to and from McCandless, official reports, and personal interviews with his parents and others that were close to him. He, in a way, keeps his input to a minimum so that the reader can form his own opinions on certain points. This is also seen throughout the whole novel.
December 13, 1996
Detrital Wash: Chapter 4
The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
Chris Johnson McCandless, a bright, intelligent, ambitious man ventured to the great Alaskan Taiga with nothing but a gun, some rice, and the clothes on his back. Crazy? Daring? Ambitious? Obsessive? No one, not even John Krakauer, the author of Into the Wild, knows for sure why he did it. Chris left this world leaving behind his car, burnt dollar bills, and a mystery as convoluted as his journey. Through the Colorado River to Mexico let's delve into chapter 4 in an attempt to unravel the mystery that Chris McCandless left behind in the Alaskan wilderness.
"Into the Wild Presentation". by Quentin Brooks, Bailey Avila, and Derek Parks. http://prezi.com/k8tfbm8yywtx/into-the-wild-presentation/# c

Krakauer, Jon.
Into the Wild
. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.

Article by: Brandon Tran, Dustin Kindberg, Quentin Small, Corey Snook, and Cody Boehner
Introduction to the Novel
Chris McCandless sitting outside of the abandoned bus.
This chapter has shown us much about the novel It leads into much of the plot of Chris McCandless' story and how he got to the where he was in previous chapters.
Rhetorically Jon Krakauer displays his ability to masterfully use transition as well as his other rhetorical elements.
In this chapter, he works in titles from other literature (reference to On Duty of Civil Disobedience).
Inputs a lot of Chris' Diary to capture feeling and emotion in this chapter.
Thematically links the chapter with the surrounding chapters by continuing his amazing story.
Keeps discussing his money in repetition.
This Chapter is a prime example of what the entire book is supposed to be about. The fact that McCandless died is not the main factor, it is the fact that he had an amazing journey in the process, and this section of that adventure has to be one of the most daring.
Rhetorical Overview
The desert is the environment of revelation, genetically and physiologically alien, sensorily austere, esthetically abstract, historically inimical.... Its forms are bold and suggestive. The mind is beset by light and space, the kinesthetic novelty of the aridity, high temperature, and wind. The desert sky is encircling, majestic, terrible. In other habitats, the rim of sky above the horizontal is broken or obscured; here, together with the overhead portion, it is infinitely vaster than that of rolling countryside and forest lands.... In an unobstructed sky the clouds seem more massive, sometimes grandly reflecting the earth’s curvature on their concave undersides. The angularity of desert landforms imparts a monumental architecture to the clouds as well as to the land....
To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality.
Paul Shepard
Man in the Landscape
A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature
Chapter Overview
The chapter begins with the rangers' discovery of Chris's car, along with his leftover belongings, before describing how he abandoned all of this equipment. According to McCandles' journal, he abandoned all the equipment after getting trapped in a storm. Burying all his non-essentials and burning his money, he moved on, exhilarated, traveling by foot to his next destination. He hitchhiked from destination to destination. McCandless traveled through California and eventually joined the company of Jan Burres and her boyfriend where he created a long-lasting friendship.
Letters From Alexander
Chapter 4 Cont...
All during this time, McCandless was being tracked by a private detective hired by his parents. The detective had little luck, as McCandless was still traveling the roads. He eventually bought a canoe with the money recieved from Burres. Paddling on an urge, McCandless traveled down a series of canals and rivers to cross the Mexican border where he got another urge to travel to the sea. He became so lost on his journey that he broke down and wept. Strangers helped him, but he eventually made it to the sea and, after a terrifying ordeal involving a storm, Mcandless decided he will abandon the canoe and return to travel by foot. The chapter finishes with McCandless exclaiming that life is great.
Rhetorical Questions
Thematic Connections
Overall, this chapter represents his vulnerability to nature and his impulsive lifestyle.

Chapters 3 and 4 are related, thematically, in the sense that chapter 4 explains some information given in chapter 3. For example, chapter 3 shows how much McCandless loved his car, turning down an offer for a free, new car, and chapter 4 explains why he was forced to abandon his beloved vehicle. Also, chapters 3 and 4 both involve an event where McCandless encountered a very friendly stranger while hitchhiking.

At the beginning of chapter 5, it seemed like a contrast to chapter 4. McCandless held a job as a McDonalds employee and seemed to be living an almost normal lifestyle, very different from what he seemed to love in chapter 4. But the chapters are not very different. Though he did have a job, he was still living on the streets. McCandless was merely gathering money until he got his usual "itchy feet" again and began another series of hitchhiking ventures. Also, McCandless maintains connection with Burres, whom he met in chapter 4.
Descriptive Language
Primary Source
Textual Reference
Hook: Battery
= Transitions
Rhetorical Questions
= further explanation
Begins new Paragraph with reference to previous one
Just like every chapter, Krakauer begins the chapter with a small excerpt of text. For this chapter he chose an excerpt from Paul Shepard's "Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature". This small excerpt is about the desert and the people of the desert. This relates back to the subject of the chapter since it is about McCandless's time in the desert of the Detrital Wash. Also at the beginning of the chapter is a map of the area that the chapter takes place in. This helps the reader visualize the path and that McCandless too on his extravagant journey.

Chapter 4 adds more shape to McCandless' character.
It does so by using background information, such as the Datsun, and character details, such as how he lives his life by his sudden urges ("
Into the Wild
This chapter has some foreshadowing as to how McCandless' risk-taking results in messy predicaments.
the storm he barely escapes while in the canoe.
reader does not know background to his death, but this gives clues.
It also shows his sheer luck in tricky situations.
He was lost and wept in the canoe only to be discovered by Mexican fishermen who brought him to the ocean.

On this Prezi:
Cody Boehner & Dustin Kindberg - Rhetorical Exercise
Quentin Small - Thematic Overview
Brandon Tran - Rhetorical Overview
Corey Snook - Chapter Overview and Summary
Cody Boehner - Introduction
Full transcript