Into Thin Air Questions and Answers
by Jon Krakauer

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Analyze the rhetorical and/or literary devices Jon Krakauer uses in Into Thin Air. Explain how Krakauer uses these devices to support or enhance his purpose for writing.

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John Krakauer conveys his alluring yet devastating quest to summit the highest peak on Earth in his personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, Into Thin Air. His first-person narration detailing the expedition dually examines the risks humans will take to find purpose in the face of mortality’s ambiguous threat. As such, Krakauer explores how he and his fellow participants undertake this quest for cultivating a meaningful existence.

While depicting these existential themes, Krakauer describes the pursuit of summiting Mount Everest as “an intrinsically irrational act” with an almost intoxicating appeal to thrill-seekers. Despite being an overzealous ambition, the desire to transcend mortality persists in human nature, and accordingly, Krakauer reflects on how his own intrinsic desire to find “a seriousness of purpose” in his own life. In doing so, he uses inner conflict as an allegorical device to illuminate inherent dangers of human ambition:

It was titillating to...

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