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Chris McCandless' story is one that was popular in the media for a time, and so many people who would later read Into the Wildhad a basic familiarity with the end result of his story. By starting with what was already somewhat familiar to his readers, Krakauer could build the story backwards, and explain the end results of the story in that way.
This method has the disadvantage, however, of confusing the reader at times, and I found I was having to piece the story together myself at times. The second time I read it I noticed things I had missed that I think I can attribute to this narrative choice.
Krakauer also wrote backwards (writing the death first) in order to grab the attention of a reader who was NOT familiar with McCandless' situation.
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