Ethos In Into The Wild

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Into the Wild tells the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who embarked on an adventure across the U.S. Chris lived for adventure, and sadly met his demise in the Alaskan wilderness. Chris’ death brought about a large debate as to whether Chris was insane or simply idealistic. Krakauer wrote Into the Wild to prove Chris’ sanity and soundly completes that task by using rhetorical devices to persuade his audience. Throughout the book, Krakauer uses ethos to develop Chris’ credibility by providing examples of people who are similar to him. For example, Krakauer provides multiple examples of people who were very similar to Chris, such as Everett Ruess. Krakauer demonstrates similarities between Everett and Chris by stating that Everett,…show more content…
Chris uses pathos by providing examples of Chris’ troubled family life. For example, after finding out about his father’s affair, Chris felt as if he could only trust Carine. This is evident as Chris sent her a letter saying, “Anyway, I like to talk to you about this because you are the only person in the world who could possibly understand what I am saying” (Krakauer 129). This appeals to our emotions as Krakauer makes us empathize with Chris: he feels as if no one understands him, so he thus ignores his family. Chris was not only socially isolated, but he was also physically isolated from everyone he loved. Chris was struck by disaster multiple times, and that resulted in heartbreaking notes detailing how he felt. Krakauer includes these notes because it makes the audience feel bad for Chris. For example, when the river floods and Chris is trapped, he wrote “‘Disaster…rained in. River look impossible. Lonely, scared’” (Krakauer 170). This includes words that make the reader sympathize with Chris, due to the situation he was in. After all, who does not fear isolation and death? Krakauer intertwines the ideas of Chris’ isolation to make the readers commiserate with him, as proven by both of the quotes. In conclusion, Krakauer proves Chris’ sanity by using rhetorical devices. Chris was not insane: he was an idealistic man who became a martyr for a different lifestyle, one of freedom and
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