Work, Leisure, & Play
April 13, 2011
How Krakauer Balances his Bias?
Jon Krakauer's non-fiction novel Into the Wild explores the mystery surrounding Christopher McCandless and his life before he inevitably ran off into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness in an attempt to discover himself in some manner. In order to tell this story as accurately as possible, Krakauer uses a variety of techniques to give different perspectives to Chris’ life. The most prominent decision Krakauer makes though is in regards to his decision to try include or exclude himself and his views from the text. When telling Chris’ story, Krakauer takes an almost fully unbiased approach, and yet when he does present his biased empathy towards McCandless, he has full knowledge, and makes the reader fully aware. So, whether the reader ends up feeling empathetic towards McCandless or finds him rather selfish in dependent on how much they connect with him through his story. Because Krakaeur is able to portray McCandless’ life with such finesse and accuracy, including his faults, while incorporating his own personal observations and similar life experiences, he ultimately lets the reader make up their own mind in regards to how they should feel toward him. In order to truly understand Chris’ story to the smallest detail, Krakauer put a great amount of effort into retracing his past up until his death. As he states, “I spent more than a year retracing the convoluted path that led to his death in the Alaska taiga, chasing down details of his peregrinations with an interest that bordered an obsession” (Author’s Note 2). Even before the start of the novel, Krakauer points out that he followed Chris’ life like an “obsession” and became very attached to his story. Krakauer recognizes that his obsession or “bias” to the Chris will reveal itself throughout the story but makes a key decision in letting the reader know that he doesn’t “claim to be an impartial...