Jon Krakauer was born on the 12th of April in 1954 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was a gifted child of Lewis Joseph Krakauer, a doctor, while his mother, Carol Ann, was from Scandinavian descent. His childhood was spent in Oregon, where he enjoyed quality time with his loving family. His father was a weekend climber; he introduced him to mountain climbing at the age of eight. This effort sparked Krakauer’s lifelong obsession with mountaineering.
Young Jon Krakauer graduated in 1973. Later, he attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 1976 and completed his degree in Environmental Studies. Besides, he used to spend his time discovering the wilderness of nature by following different routes for mountain climbing. After graduation, he worked as a commercial fisherman and a carpenter to support his climbing. Also, he developed a great interest in reading and writing. Although his father wanted him to join the medical field, Jon was not interested in studying medicine. So, he decided to pursue writing as a career and started writing for the magazine, Outside, after laying the foundation of his successful literary career.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- His Outside article on the climb won the 1996 National Magazine Award for Reporting.
- His masterpiece, Into Thin Air, won Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was later translated into 24 languages.
- In 1996, he reached the top of Mount Everest, while in 1997, he triggered a new route up the Devils Thumb in Southeast Alaska.
- He met former climber, Linda Mariam in 1977, and they tied the knot in 1980.
- He edited the Exploration series of the Modern Library in 2004.
- His book, Into the Wild, was adapted as a film in 2007.
- He received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999.
Jon Krakauer is a renowned figure and an admired journalist whose work has been published in various leading magazines including the New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Outside, and other periodicals. Some of his essays and articles about rock-climbing and mountain-climbing are collected in his work, Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains, that appeared in 1990. Later, in 1996, he came up with his finest piece, Into the Wild, which won great admiration from the audience and stayed in The New York Times Best Seller List for two years. His next book, Into Thin Air, elaborates on the commercialization of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. The book successfully reflects the general state of the Everest mountaineering and the experiences of the climbers. This beautiful explanation led this book to reach the top of The New York Times’ non-fiction bestseller list. His third nonfiction bestseller, Under the Banner of Heaven, appeared in 2003. The book investigates the extreme of religious beliefs, specifically, focusing on the fundamentalist offshoots of Mormonism.
Regarded as one of the leading American writers, Krakauer chose to pen his experiences and thought using a unique style. Instead of writing in straightforward and plain words, he preferred using journalistic style. Most of his works are structured anachronistically and provide a massive amount of information not only about the man and his encounter with nature but also about the places he conquered and discovered. Moreover, his works, Into the Air, and Into the Wild, start with a single incident and later talk about murders and other incidents, providing his readers with a chance to predict the incident using various lenses; belief, insanity, stupidity, fanaticism, and passion. Using informative tone and logical analysis, his writings provide evidence of the incidents that he chose to pen down. Regarding literary devices, he often turns toward imagery, similes, metaphors, internal dialogues, and sound devices. The recurring themes in most of Jon Krakauer’s writings are humans in the natural world, life and death, adventures and sufferings.
Some Important Works of Jon Krakauer
- Best Books: He was an outstanding writer some of his best works include Into the Wild, Into the Air, Three Cups of Deceit, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, and Where Men Win Glory.
Jon Krakauer’s Impact on Future Literature
Jon Krakauer, with his unique abilities, left profound impacts on the global literature. Interesting, he is the living writer, who has won fame during his lifetime. His unique ideas, along with distinct literary qualities, have won applauses from his readers, critics, and other fellow writers. He successfully documented his ideas about suffering, death, and perseverance that even today writers try to imitate his journalistic style to surpass him.
- “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” (Into the Wild)
- “He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.” (Into the Wild)
- I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor – such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps – what more can the heart of a man desire?” …” (Into the Wild)