Into the Wild

Thinking Critically

Rhetorical appeals are the accepted ways in which we persuade or argue a case. The following questions will move you through more traditional rhetorical appeals. By focusing on appeals to the writer, to emotion, and to logic, you will be able to discover how Krakauer has persuaded us and how you can use these techniques to persuade others when you write or speak. Questions about Logic (Logos)

1. Krakauer summarizes the response to his article by saying, “The prevailing Alaska wisdom held that McCandless was simply one more dreamy half-cocked greenhorn who went into the country expecting to find answers to all his problems and instead found only mosquitos and a lonely death” (72). Has Krakauer made the case that the prevailing Alaska wisdom is wrong? Why or why not?

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I don't think Krakauer was trying to completely discount this idea. Krakauer was pretty clear about the fact that Chris entered the Alaskan wilderness unprepared and under experienced. Krakauer spends a lot of time juxtaposing Chris's hero worship of writers like Thoreau and Emerson with the realities of living in the wild. I think that Krakauer was trying to say there was more to Chris McCandless than his ill-fated trip into the Alaskan wilderness. Chris had personality traits, counter-cultural or otherwise, that we could all learn from.