What is the purpose of the beginning quotes of each chapter of Into the Wild?

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I feel that author John Krakauer uses the quotes in the beginning of each chapter for two main reasons. The first reason is to try and get readers to better understand Chris McCandless. The quotes are a somewhat subtle way of doing this. It might seem overt, but the quotes are not nearly as overt as when Krakauer spends time narrating how he is similar to McCandless, nor is it as overt as when Krakauer spends two entire chapters comparing McCandless to other men like Ruess, McCunn, Waterman, and Rosellini. As readers work their way through the text, Krakauer makes sure that we understand McCandless revered authors like Jack London. McCandless seemed to romanticize authors like him and the places that they wrote about, so it makes sense that Krakauer would include quotes from those authors in order to show the reader how McCandless's life echoed things those men wrote about.

The second reason is much more tactical. Writers are constantly trying to convince readers to start reading and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 855 words.)

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