Why does Krakauer begin each chapter with quotes?

1 Answer | Add Yours

kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

One of the objectives of the text is to communicate that the desires and drives which took McCandless to the edge of his endurance and beyond were not unique to him. Krakauer uses quotations from the inspirations behind McCandless’ adventure. Many of the quotations are from Tolstoy, whose writings had a profound impact on the young man. Often Krakauer uses quotations from other sources which have clearly affected McCandless. Chapter 2 begins with a quotation from McCandless himself-

 Jack London is King

Alexander Supertramp

May 1992

 Krakauer explains that this was carved into a piece of wood where McCandless’ body was found. He then follows this with a quotation from Jack London’s “White Fang”-

 …It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life…

 Krakauer uses the quotations to illustrate and explain the passionate drive which compelled McCandless to push himself so far into the inhospitable landscape.


We’ve answered 319,189 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question