What literary devices are used in chapters 1 and 2 of the book Into the Wild by John Krakauer?

1 Answer

sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are a lot of different literary devices used in Krakauer's book Into the Wild. Chapters 1 and 2 are no exceptions.  

A common literary device that Krakauer uses throughout the book (and chapters 1 and 2) is the flashback technique.  Krakauer frequently alternates between narrating about his own research into Chris's life and flashing back to narrating what Chris was doing during his wanderings before his death.  Chapter 1 begins with a flashback to Chris beginning the last few weeks of his life in Alaska.  Chronologically, it is just about the most recent flashback.  

Another literary technique that Krakauer uses is figurative language.  His descriptions of the nature that Chris was surviving in are nothing short of beautiful.  

Between the flinty crests of the two outermost escarpments of the Outer Range runs an east-west trough, maybe five miles across, carpeted in a boggy amalgam of muskeg, alder thickets, and veins of scrawny spruce.

A third literary technique that Krakauer tries to establish right from the start is tone.  Obviously every writer establishes tone, so I want to emphasize what Krakauer's tone is.  Krakauer attempts to maintain an objective tone.  He tries to tell the story as an objective based writer and researcher might tell the story.  He does this by stringing sentences together that are free from figurative language.  They narrate facts and only facts. 

The trail was blazed in the 1930s by a legendary Alaska miner named Earl Pilgrim; it led to antimony claims he’d staked on Stampede Creek, above the Clearwater Fork of the Toklat River. In 1961, a Fairbanks company, Yutan Construction, won a contract from the new state of Alaska (statehood having been granted just two years earlier) to upgrade the trail, building it into a road on which trucks could haul ore from the mine year-round.

Krakauer mostly succeeds in this tone, but there are times when his tone shifts to passionate defense of Chris.