The first literary device employed in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is in medias res. In medias res translates to “into the middle of things” and is used to drop the reader into the plot while action is occurring. Instead of spending time introducing characters, setting, and plot, the narrator wants readers to figure these aspects out on their own, without being explicitly told. This typically has a jarring effect on the reader, as they are made to feel disorientated.
Inherent with the use of in medias res is the later use of flashbacks to provide the background information skipped in the first passages.
Next, Krakauer uses allusion when he mentions Jack London to help explain Chris’s motivations. Allusions are callbacks to other pieces of literature, art, or pop culture and help add depth to the characters and their motivations: the assumption is that the reader has some knowledge of the object the allusion refers to.
Finally, Krakauer uses imagery to describe the Alaskan wilderness to the...
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