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)

3. Krakauer argues in Chapter 14 that McCandless’s death was unplanned and was a terrible accident (134). Does the book so far support that position? Do you agree with Krakauer? Why or why not?

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McCandless never meant to kill himself or become some sort of martyr against the establishment. Chris was a romantic, a philosopher, and an adventurer. Krakauer, however, is careful to describe Chris as naive in the realities of wilderness survival. Krakauer describes Chris as a counter-culture idealist who, for all his self-developing intentions, lacked the skills to survive in the wilderness. Krakauer also summarizes that Chris really did not understand what it meant to truly be alone. The Alaskan wilds were a far cry from living in a cabin near Thoreau's Walden Pond. Krakauer is clear that Chris's demise was unplanned and came as a surprise to him (Chris). Chris's final epiphany that he needed other people attests to this as well.