What is the purpose of using the stories of other people in chapters 8-9? What do you think is Krakauer's reasoning behind this choice? Is he successful?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Krakauer uses the tales of others to reflect that McCandless was not insane, but was driven by a force which compels many young men. In chapter 8, we see the criticism which surrounded McCandless’ death nevertheless identifying that he was not alone in his compulsion-

 Over the past 15 years, I’ve run in to several McCandless types out in the country…the only difference is that McCandless ended up dead,

Krakauer goes on to illustrate cases which go back far further than fifteen years. Gene Rossellini, who Krakauer met in the eighties, had lived as a stone age man for most of his adult life. Mallon Waterman climbed Mt Hunter’s southeast spur alone in 1978. He suffered with the angst of divorced parents and a family history of mental illness. He disappeared in theAlaska ranges, ill-prepared for the environment. Chapter 8 deals with  Everett Ruess' trek into the Utah desert in 1934.

 The point Krakauer is trying to establish is that by looking at other such men, details about what drove McCandless and others like him can be explored-

 Some insight in to the tragedy of Chris McCandless can be gained by studying predecessors cut from the same exotic cloth.

There is some value in this approach, and the reader is convinced that whatever drove McCandless was a force shared with other young men across history.