Krakauer frequently uses a variety of literary devices in this novel. The previous answers have done a nice job of highlighting some of those devices. I'd like to add a couple more. A common device that the author uses is the flashback technique. Based on when and where the book begins, large parts of the narration are flashbacks. Readers first meet McCandless only a matter of weeks before he dies. However, over the course of the novel, readers experience parts of McCandless's life as a young boy, in college, and on the road to Alaska. Most of those events are not told in chronological order.
Krakauer also uses figurative language throughout his text. His descriptions of the countryside that McCandless was moving through are exceptionally beautiful pieces of narration. It really helps the reader understand how and why McCandless loved being out on the road so much.
Between the flinty crests of the two outermost escarpments of the Outer Range runs an east-west trough, maybe five miles...
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