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Into the Wild

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Into the Wild
Into The Wild analysis Gaby Mudd

(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 these lines to why McCandless might have traveled to the desert. When McCandless experienced a flash flood while stranded in the desert Krakauer describes him as “exhilarated” and that he saw the flash flood as “An opportunity to shed unnecessary baggage (Pg. 29).” Here Krakauer relates this back to how McCandless sought solitude and reality in the desert, and the best way to accomplish this was to live off the land. Also, Krakauer ties the chapter back to the beginning passage when Shepard speaks to the harsh heat of the desert, because McCandless ended up suffering from a heat stroke and became delirious. These are some of the examples as to how the Passage relates to the chapter. This beginning passage relates to the whole novel in a multitude of ways. One prime example is the idea the McCadless wandered off to Alaska because he sought the solitude but also, as the passage speaks to perhaps the reality. Krakauer characterizes Chris as an adventure seeker and his journey through the desert relates back to his unfortunate journey in Alaska. As mentioned in the excerpt from Shepard, Krakauer sets up the idea that Chris was seeking spiritual enlightenment in the desert. By doing this Krakauer also shows how McCandless was seeking solitude in Alaska in relation to the escape in the desert. All together Krakauer relates his ideas of Chris seeking solitude and spirital reality in harsh places or conditions.

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