Analyzing Stylistic Choices
Analyzing Stylistic Choices helps you see the linguistic and rhetorical choices writers make to inform or convince readers.
Precise writers make linguistic choices to create certain effects. They want to have their readers react in a certain way. Go back through the text and analyze Krakauer’s use of words, sentences, and paragraphs, and take note as to how effective a writer he is.
Analyzing Chapters 8–10
In the first part of Chapter 8, Krakauer quotes Alaskans who had opinions about McCandless and his death.
1. Why does Krakauer cite these letters? How does citing them add to or detract from the text?
2. Choose one of these letters, and respond to it, explaining the degree to which you agree or disagree.
Krakauer inserts himself into the story in Chapter 8.
3. Does this give him more credibility?
4. Do you find this annoying? Why or why not?
Analyzing Chapters 11–13
A few pages into Chapter 13, Krakauer describes McCandless’s sister’s behavior when she was told about her brother’s death.
5. Why does he use the word “keening” instead of crying?
6. What are the denotations and connotations of this word? What is its history?
Reread aloud the next-to-last paragraph in Chapter 13, where
Krakauer powerfully describes Billie’s grief.
7. Rephrase the paragraph and simplify it in your own words.
8. What makes Krakauer’s description (quoted below) powerful?
“It is all she can do to force herself to examine the fuzzy snapshots. As she studies the pictures, she breaks down from time to time, weeping as only a mother who has outlived a child can weep, betraying a sense of loss so huge and irreparable that the mind balks at taking its measure.
“Such bereavement, witnessed at close range, makes even the most eloquent apologies for high-risk activities ring fatuous and hollow.”
Analyzing Chapters 14 and 15