(Opening paragraph (Pg. 25))
In this paragraph of Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, Krakauer takes text from Paul Shepard’s “Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature” to show insight of why Chris McCandless ventured into the desert.
To start off with, within the first paragraph of the passage, Shepard uses strong diction to characterize the desert as unforgivably harsh. By using words such as “Sensorily austere” and “historically inimical” Shepard shows the reader in these paradoxes to emphasize that the desert is typically thought of as harsh and unfavorable. He goes on to say that it is high in temperature and wind. Also, Shepard creates the image of the sky going on forever by writing it is “Vaster than that of rolling countryside and forest lands” which creates the effect that the desert goes on forever. Shepard furthers this idea by saying “In an unobstructed sky the clouds seem more massive, sometimes grandly reflecting the earth’s curvature on their concave undersides.” By using images such as “unobstructed sky” and “the clouds seem more massive” Shepard creates the vision that the desert is vast and stretches on for miles, and seems to have no end. It also creates the image that the clouds are more grand and apparent than anywhere else. Next, Shepard moves on to the most impactful part of the passage, when he writes, “Here the leaders of great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality.” Here Shepard is showing that even the great leaders and prophets seek the desert because it is so harsh it revels the reality of the world. All together these examples show how Shepard characterizes the desert as harsh and unapproachable but, are also a place to find spiritual release.
When Shepard speaks to how great leaders of religions retreat to the reality of the desert, Krakaure uses the words to his advantage. Krakauer relates...