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Missoula

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Suggested Essay Topics

Writing Help Suggested Essay Topics

1. Krakauer decided in advance of writing Missoula to tell his story from the victims’ point of view. In making this decision, did Krakauer sacrifice his journalistic objectivity, or did he take a necessary step toward changing the way we understand rape victims and their stories?

Think of Krakauer’s conversation with the jurist, Joanne Fargo. What makes it so difficult to convict rapists in jury trial? Is there anything, according to Krakauer, that can be done to change the way rape cases are argued that would result in more convictions?

Why do so few rape victims report their rapes and do the women Krakauer profiles—women who did report their attackers—have something in common that makes them different?

Think of Kirsten Pabst’s development in Missoula. Are there other figures in the book that lie about, misrepresent, or refuse to take responsibility for their actions? What is the link in Missoula between the violent, physical crime of rape and the institutional, silent crimes of the Missoula County Attorney’s Office?

Many rapists, Dr. David Lisak tells Krakauer, are unaware that their actions constitute rape. Should a rapist’s ignorance diminish his responsibility before the law? The jury in Jordan Johnson’s trail acquits Johnson because he may have been unaware that Cecilia Washburn had withdrawn consent. Does this mitigate Johnson’s actions, or are men who unknowingly rape women just as guilty as those who actively intend to do so?