Would the book have been more effective if Krakauer had used a different organizing strategy?
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The narrative is very circular. Krakauer does this to build on Chris's character. There is some dramatic irony here in that most people knew what happened to Chris before they started the book. What fascinates us is the progression of Chris's character as well as the reflections of people he met. Krakauer chooses to build his narrative intersecting the past and the present in order for the reader to gain a deeper perspective on Chris and his motivations. I think this was a good way to really do service to such a unique soul.