full title Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
author Jon Krakauer
type of work Nonfiction Narrative
genre Investigative Journalism
place and time written The book was researched in Missoula, Montana and written in Missoula, Montana and Bolder, Colorado between 2012 and 2015
date of first publication April 21st 2015
narrator Jon Krakauer, the author
point of view Krakauer narrates in a removed, journalistic third person. He uses the first person only in the closing section of the book. The narration shifts perspective from one subject to another. Sometimes, Krakauer presents his subjects’ inner thoughts and feelings by quoting from interviews he conducted with them after the events he narrates.
tone Krakauer presents events in a factual and legalistic way. In between his descriptions of the events, however, he is more of an activist. He argues for victims’ rights and criticizes the way various people or institutions behave when responding to rape reports.
tense The events of the various stories are told in the past, but Krakauer argues certain points using the present.
setting (time) 2008 – 2014
setting (place) Missoula, Montana and the surrounding region
protagonist Allison Huguet and Cecilia Washburn are the two main protagonists of Missoula. Krakauer aligns himself and invests the readers’ attention in all the victims of rape covered in the book.
major conflict The major conflict is in the book is rape victims’ search for justice.
rising action The action rises in Allison’s story when Allison and her family negotiate with prosecutors over the terms of Beau Donaldson’s plea agreement and during the testimony given at Beau’s plea hearing. The action rises in Cecilia Washburn’s story during Jordan Johnson’s university investigation and throughout the testimony given at Johnson’s jury trial.
climax The climax of Allison’s story is Beau’s sentence of thirty years in the state prison with twenty years suspended. The climax of Cecilia Washburn’s story is Jordan Johnson’s “not guilty” verdict.
falling action After their stories reach their climaxes, both Allison and Cecilia Washburn attempt to move on with their lives in the face of trauma. Allison is forced to appear at a re-sentencing hearing for Beau even though Beau agreed not to dispute his sentence when he signed his plea agreement.
themes The widespread repercussions of acquaintance rape, insensitivity and bias in the American criminal justice system, college football and the privilege of football players
motifs Media scrutiny; binge drinking, intoxication, and date rape drugs; the definition of consent
symbols The sixty-eight inch cardboard cutout, the Dear Colleague Letter, the dais
foreshadowing Beau Donaldson’s lenient sentence is foreshadowed when prosecutor Shaun Donovan argues that he will not insist on a punishment simply because it is what a victim wants. Jordan Johnson’s not guilty verdict is foreshadowed by numerous mentions by prosecutors of the difficulty of convicting an acquaintance rapist in a jury trial.