Rhetorical appeals are accepted ways in which we persuade or argue a case. The following questions will move you through more traditional rhetorical appeals. By focusing on the appeal to logic, to the writer, and to emotion, you will find yourself understanding further how Krakauer has persuaded us and how you can use these same techniques to persuade others when you write or speak.
Write answers to these questions in your notebook.
Questions about Logic (Logos)
1. At the end of Chapter 2, Krakauer says of McCandless,
Driving west out of Atlanta, he intended to invent an utterly new life for himself, one in which he would be free to wallow in unfiltered experience. TO symbolize the complete severance from his previous life, he even adopted a new name. No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny. (23)
These are some pretty strong assertions about what McCandless was trying to do. Do you believe them at this point? Has Krakauer supported these conclusion about McCandless? What is some of the evidence he presents? 2. In Chapter 6, Krakauer writes,
On March 14, Franz left McCandless on the shoulder of Interstate 70 outside of Grand Junction and returned to southern California. McCandless was thrilled to be on his way north, and he was relieved as well - relieved that he had again evaded the impending threat of human intimacy, of friendship, and all the messy emotional baggage that comes with it. He had fled the claustrophobic confines of his family. He’s successfully kept Jan Burres and Wayne Westerberg at arm’s length, flitting out of their lives before anything was expected of him. And now he’d slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well. Does Krakauer actually know what McCandless was feeling at that point? How can he tell? What evidence does he have? Do you think he is right?
3. In Chapter 6, McCandless write to Ron Franz, telling him, You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances. (57 - 58). Does McCandless offer any evidence for these assertions about life? Are his life and his journey arguments for or against this position? Is Ron Franz convinced? Are you?
Questions about the Writer (Ethos)
Does Krakauer have an acceptable background to speak with authority on this subject/ Why or why not? Is this author knowledgeable? Smart? Successful?
What does this author’s style and language tell you about him? Do you trust this author? Why or why not?
Questions about Emotions (Pathos)
8. Does this section of the book affect you emotionally? Which parts? 9. Do you think the author is trying to manipulate your emotions? If so, how? 10. Do your emotions conflict with your logical interpretation of the arguments? Write answers to these questions in your notebook.