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)

2. At the end of Chapter 9, Krakauer describes Irish monks known as the papar who sought out lonely places so much that they left Iceland for Greenland when some Norwegians showed up because they thought that it had become too crowded, even though the land was nearly uninhabited. Krakauer writes, “Reading of these monks, one cannot help thinking of Everett Reuss and Chris McCandless” (97). Krakauer implies that there is some kind of similarity between Reuss, McCandless, and the papar, but instead of making a specific connection, he just says “one cannot help thinking of.” Is this a good argument? Why or why not?

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I don't think Krakauer's comparison was one to be taken as a major theme in Chris's personality rather than a piece of information that we might consider. These Irish monks didn't travel to escape persecution, to claim land or to discover. They risked their lives to find isolated places where they could practice their solitary lives untempted and undisturbed by the temptations of the material world. Similarly Chris was, or thought he was, doing something similar with his own beliefs. The comparison is valid depending on how much you want to read into it.