The Literary Analysis Of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Hatchet is written by Gary Paulsen. It is a book about a thirteen year old kid named Brian who crash lands in the Canadian wilderness and has to survive on his own. Brian is flying to Alaska to visit his dad for the summer when suddenly the pilot has a heart attack and dies. He grabs onto the controls and tries to land the plane but there’s no flat area so he decides to crash into a lake. He hustles out of the plane with his hatchet at his side and swims to the shore.

Hatchet is the story of his survival in the wilderness with only a hatchet. Hatchet takes place in the wilderness of Canada. This setting is important because he has no man made tools or food. He has to use the natural resources and his brain. Brian uses his hatchet to make a shelter and weapons. He chops down branches and sets them up for his shelter. “With the branches he interlaced and wove a wall of the opening of the front of the rocks. Then he goes to get grass to put on top of the branches. He uses the shelter to protect him from the rain and some animals.

After he builds the shelter, Brian uses his hatchet to make spears and arrows. He takes branches and sharpens the tip of them to make arrows and spears. “He had worked on the fish spear until it had become more then just a tool.” He shoots the arrows at birds and throws the spears at fish. “I know about fire; I know I need fire.” Brian says this the second night he’s there. Brian needs a fire because he needs it for heat, to cook food and to keep animals away. Brian makes the fire with his hatchet and a rock. First, he figures out that he needs some paper so he takes his twenty dollar bill and tries to burn it. Unfortunately the bill just burns right out and leaves him with no fire. After that he takes his hatchet and cuts really small pieces of bark. Then he piles them up under twigs. Then he takes his hatchet and hits a rock with a great blow and sparks catch the bark on fire. He hits another blow and the sparks catch the twigs on fire. And so he has a fire. This process shows that whatever Brian sets his mind to he can do it. The wilderness setting is important because if Brian landed in a major city, it would be on the news everywhere. His dad would see it and come to get him.

The most striking point in this book was when he crashed landed in a lake and tried to survive. He is only thirteen years old. If that was me I would have given up hope the minute I got there. He never gave up hope. He always knew that his rescue team was coming. A principle I learned when I read this great book is not to ever give up hope even when the odds are against you. This kind of reminds me in the book of Daniel. I thinks its in the book of Daniel. Where Daniel was left in the wilderness all by himself. Well I think its Daniel, I really don’t remember who it was but it’s in the Bible.

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Hatchet – wilderness survival novel written by Gary Paulsen

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Hatchet was written by Gary Paulsen. In this novel, thirteen year old Brian is flying on a bush plane when the pilot suddenly has a heart attack and dies. Brian manages to keep the plane level until it crashes into a lake. Brian survives the crash, but that is just the beginning. Brian must find a way to survive the wilds of the Canadian forest if he ever hopes to be rescued. Hatchet is an adventure story that will take its character from a common city boy to a survivalist in a manner of days.

Brian Robeson is still reeling from his parents’ sudden divorce when his mother drives him to a private airport where he is to fly on a bush plane to visit his father in the Canadian oil fields. Brian’s mother gives him a hatchet as a parting gift and asks him to try it on his belt. For this reason, the hatchet is still on Brian’s belt when he gets on the plane.

As they fly, the pilot shows Brian how to use the controls. Then, suddenly, the pilot becomes ill. It takes Brian a moment to realize the pilot is having a heart attack. Brian is frightened and unsure of what to do. Brian uses the radio to ask for help, but he loses the signal before he can say much. Brian decides to keep the plane steady until it runs out of fuel. Then, he will try to put it down in a lake. When the moment comes, Brian manages to do just that, crashing the plane into the middle of an L-shaped lake. When Brian recovers from the crash, he climbs out of the lake and begins taking inventory of his situation. He finds a place where he can build a shelter and some berries to eat. After an attack by a porcupine in the middle of the night, Brian figures out how to make a fire and keep animals out of his shelter. Brian later figures out how to catch fish and even begins to move up to killing larger animals, mostly birds.

One night a tornado hits the section of forest where Brian is surviving. The tornado destroys Brian’s shelter, and it also turns the plane so that the tail section is sticking out of the water. Brian recalls the survival pack that is in the back of the plane and decides to try to get it. Brian builds a raft and takes it to the plane. Brian peels the metal shell off the plane and makes a hole large enough to climb inside. Brian is able to recover the survival pack and drag it back to his shelter.

Inside the survival bag, Brian finds a great many things such as matches, cooking equipment, and multiple packs of freeze dried food. All of these items will be useful to him. Brian also finds a radio, but he does not understand how it works. So, he sets it aside. While Brian is making his first real meal in months, he hears a motor overhead. Brian is surprised to discover that the radio is an emergency transmitter, and he left it turned on. A trader flying overhead heard the signal and has landed to rescue Brian.

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My Reflections Over the Book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

I chose a fire, a hatchet, and woods to represent the book, “Hatchet”, because he was lost in the woods, his hatchet was his main tool, and he learned how to build a fire for survival.

How is Brian a Hero in Hatchet

Brian is a hero in Hatchet because once Brian is alone in the wilderness and can only depend upon his own resourcefulness to survive, he must learn to hunt for food. He is also a hero because he grows over his expectations. He has to build a shelter on his own. He does not always get these things right on the first try, but he can no longer get angry or lose his temper, because he realizes this will not help him survive. His quick mind, which allowed him to remember a lot of information about survival from television, movies, and books, helps him as he goes through trial and error. Rather than being upset and pitying himself, which ultimately would have led to his death, he adapts to the horrible situation and figures out his way through it.

What Is a Mistake Brian Made

Brian makes some basic mistakes in Hatchet, which isn’t a shock when it’s considered that he’s not used to surviving out in the wilderness. Brian will soon understand that his hatchet is really important to survive. But, he doesn’t treat it like he should yet. In the book, Brian discovers the tail of a plane in the lake. He immediately thinks that there might still be a survival pack on board that he can use. So he hops on board the raft he’s made and heads on over to the plane to check. He sees the survival pack, but he will need to cut into the plane’s fuselage. As Brian’s still new about surviving in the wilderness, he thinks use a hatchet. Although, the hatchet wasn’t working like he hoped and he dropped it into the water. This mistake is vital to show how naive he is with being left to survive on his own.

What Gave Brian Hope

Brian gets a little new hope later in the book. It makes him feel like he would be just fine on his own. As it is in chapter 13, Brian sees a plane flying above him which does not see him and continues flying away. Brian feels like it’s hopeless at this moment and attempts suicide by cutting himself with his hatchet. Once Brian wakes up, he sees that he is still alive and becomes eager to never don’t such a thing again. Brian turns into a new, tough man. Brian quickly learns how to shoot and kill fish using his selfmade bow and arrows. After having his first ‘feast day,’ Brian is grateful for a new hope. The hope Brian gets is his knowledge. Brian is no longer looking to be rescued but now has a some hope that he will be able to survive in the wilderness on his own. Brian’s hope gives him the motivation to adapt and survive in the wild.

Song: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

A song that reminds me of the book would be “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. It reminds me or Brian and his fight for survival in the wilderness alone. Some song lyrics that represent it are “Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance now I’m back on my feet. Just a man and his will to survive”. This details Brian in his situation, making the best out of it, looking to make it through the tragic times.

Figurative Language

In chapter 7 of Hatchet, Brian becomes very ill from the berries he had eaten, previously not knowing if they would hurt him or not. When he wakes up the next morning, he wallows in his own self pity. In this chapter, it says “He was dirty and starving and bitten and hurt and lonely and ugly and afraid and so completely miserable that it was like being in a pit, a dark, deep pit with no way out” (Robeson 65). This is comparing how he looks and feels to how living in a dark pit is. He is all dirty and gross and it’s equivalent to how he would look in an empty, dark, cold pit. It’s also comparing his environment and how it impacts him as badly as a pit would.

Similes are the most common figurative language in Hatchet as it compares things quite often. This is shown in chapter 18 of Hatchet, “The hatchet cut through the aluminum as if it were soft cheese” (Robeson 122). This is comparing aluminum and soft cheese because it’s saying that the aluminum was very easy to cut through like how soft cheese is.

Earlier in the book, Brian makes it back on the land after being in the water. He sits there and begins to overthink and panic about if he would ever be saved. But slowly he calmed himself. As it says in chapter 5, “Gradually, like sloshing oil, his thoughts settled back and the panic was gone” (Robeson 50). This shows how he slowly was calming down after panicking about his survival. This is a simile because it’s comparing his thoughts and sloshing oil and how they gradually settle back.

Brian has been attempting to build a fire with barely any solutions. He tried using twigs, grass, and a 20 dollar bill, but nothing would work. He notices some trees and the bark, that is like paper, which is peeling off of them. He uses the bark to make a fire. As it says in chapter 9, “I have a friend, he thought—I have a friend now. A hungry friend, but a good one. I have a friend named fire” (Robeson 92-93). He is excited to have the fire, calling it his friend, because he can use the fire for light, heat, protection, and to cook with. He knows he now has a chance to survive.

Brian was so depressed after the plane incident that he attempted suicide by cutting himself. He was fortunate enough and ended up not dying. The next morning, he woke up a new Brian. “Forty-two days, he thought, since he had died and been born as the new Brian” (Robeson 122). This Brian who is a lot tougher and that is confident he will live. He learned how to make a bow and arrow, how to hunt, and how to live on his own. He was a brand new person.


Brian is in the woods and he hears a plane so he tries light his fire fast to get the attention of the plane. The plane does not see his fire and flies past. Brian is feeling really alone. “They would not return. He would never leave now, never get out of here” (Robeson 117). He used to feel like he would be safe, but he feels now that he will die alone in the woods. He lost all hope.

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Brian’s Adaptation in Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Gary Paulsen message for the readers is to change and adapt. He changed Brian’s perspective through out the novel regarding the wilderness. At the start of the story we see Brian’s plane crashed into the Canadian woods. Initially, perhaps due to his parent’s divorce we see, Brian sad and obviously scarred because of the plane crash. He is lost and lonely which are the key factors to his trauma. He, at first, hears silence and then learns to identify the sounds of animals and other creatures in the woods. He is hungry but hopeful that he would be found soon.

Paulsen keeps us informed through flashbacks regarding his previous life. One key factor which proves vital for his survival was his English teacher’s advice, ‘ thinking positive, stay on top of things.’ This advice calms him and he starts thinking through his current situation. Brian considered himself lucky since he did had a considerable safe landing given the circumstances. He discovers berries and fresh water to drink. He also finds a shelter. Brian’s gets confident through out the novel. Brian learns to clam himself when he would get scared. In chapter 10, we see, he learns to make fire and makes ‘a wonderful discovery’ to keep mosquitoes and other wild animals away. He learns to adapt to his environment.

With time paulsen shows us that Brian learns new survival skills. He survives a tornado and a moose attack. He make alternative inventions such as the hunting spears, spoon, etc. He focuses more on living and thinks less about him getting rescued. He learns new hunting skills and gets leaner and stronger, mentally and physically. Some might argue that he is still affected by his parents divorce, but we see him paying more attention to his personal growth and stops sulking over his parents divorce and also comes out of the bubble of the rescue mission he had in his mind he had in the beginning.

Towards the end we see him going back to the planes carnage to collect things which will help him survive and find his way out of the wilderness. At this point we see Brain as being well adapt in the wilderness. He is tougher, more informed about the wilderness and capable to take care of himself. He excepts not to be rescued and takes charge of himself to take him home. Ofcourse, ultimately he does get rescued though.

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Life Path of Main Character in Hatchet Book

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Imagine the feeling of being completely alone where no one can hear your cries for help, where no one can see you or begin to understand your pain, and where your once perfect and happy life is suddenly crumbling apart. Welcome to Brain’s world, a thirteen year old boy who’s parents are going through a bad divorce that ultimately causes him to resent his mother for being deceitful to his own father. The story “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen is about a young teenage boy that is constantly feeling the pressure and hurt from his parents divorce. Brian’s mother sends Brian to his father’s house for the summer by plane. The plane crashes on the way to the airport in a secluded, dense forest. Brian is forced to survive in the wilderness using only a hatchet that his mother gave him as a gift before he left to visit his father. Alone, lost, and afraid, Brian goes into survival mode, desperate to stay alive in the forest. I feel that I can relate to Brian because I too have felt scared and alone during certain points in my life where even though I was not physically lost, mentally I was.

“If his mother hadn’t begun to see him and forced the divorce, Brian wouldn’t be here now.” We all feel that we need some sort of explanation for the way things are or why they happen. In this quote, Brian shows that he is mad at his mother for cheating on his father and causing the divorce. He resents her and his built up anger towards her is starting to come out in this mess of a situation. I know that when I am angry or upset with the way things are going or happening in my life, I try to find some sort of reason why they are happening the way there are. For example, my mother once said something rude to my father in front of me that I did not agree with. I started to get upset with her and felt the need to cool down, so I went for a quick jog. As I was running down the hill, I tripped and sprained my ankle. Furious at the situation, I blamed my mother for causing me to have the need to go for a run in the first place.

“I am full of tough hope”, says Brian. This is the moment when Brian realized that suicide was not an option anymore. Brian had almost given up on everything. He could not take the pressure of the divorce, the constant bad thoughts and memories running through his head, and most of all; Brian could hardly find the strength to survive in the wilderness anymore. He may have contemplated suicide, but his tough hope came though and he told him self that he is strong and has a life worth living. I have been in situations before where I have contemplated giving up on trying. Whether it be an exam where I felt I was going to fail, so I would almost give up on studying all together, or if it was me putting everything into a relationship with someone and getting nothing back. Yes I have been here before where I have almost given up on things, but I pulled through like Brian and brought my confidence back up by telling myself that I can do this, or get through this!

At a young age when I would experience bad things, or go through unfortunate events, I soon realized that life doesn’t always go smoothly. For example, when I was in 3rd grade, I lost a good friend because we had some differences. This was my first real experience of losing something important; and up until that point, everything in my life was perfect. I had no real problems. This helped me to realize that things in life aren’t always wonderful and flawless. Throughout this book, Brian discovers, like me, that his life won’t always be perfect and easy. “So much of this was patience – waiting and thinking and doing things right.” In this quote, Brian shows that he is growing up and learning from his experiences. Being stranded and lost in the forest, being forced to prioritize his life and what’s most important to him, and being caught in the middle of his parent’s divorced; ultimately made him a stronger person. He was able to grow up from these experiences and realized that patience and time is the key.

As a result, even though Brian went through some tough situations, tougher than any thirteen year old teenager would normally go through; he stayed strong and grew from the experience. He was able to see more clearly after it all, whereas earlier, he was sad, confused and scared. In the end, Brian Learned From the struggles and challenges of having to survive in the wilderness, which led to him becoming a young adult. I may have not gone through the same exact experiences that Brian went through, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because I can relate to it; as well as any teenager that has gone through that point in their life where they realize that it’s time to grow up and start acting and thinking like an adult. “Hatchet” is a true example of how to do so by showing how to overcome obstacle in life.

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Life of a Boy in Hatchet Book

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

“The Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen tells the story of a young boy who got stranded in the Canadian wilderness, and how he survived. It all started after Brian’s parents got divorced. That summer Brian went to see his father in the oil fields of the Yukon. That day his mother sent him on a small plane piloted by a friend of his father. Brian took his pocket knife, clothes, and most important a hatchet that his father gave him. After the plane took off, the pilot let Brian fly the plane and showed him how to steer and basically fly. This all would soon come in handy to save Brian’s life.

Soon they were flying over the Canadian wilderness, when the pilot felt funny and had sharp pains in his side. The pilot thought that it was just bad gas from the lunch he ate. The pilot soon found out that he was dead wrong. Soon the pilot was having a full blown heart attack. The pilot let out a few mayday calls but being in the middle of nowhere the radio wouldn’t pick up any signals. The pilot just hoped that someone had heard his calls. Brian, being the only other person on the plane, had to try to help the pilot. After he gave him CPR and tried to revive him, Brian gave up. Brian had other problems to deal with, like trying to keep himself alive. Brian, with only the flying experience the pilot gave him, was trying to find a lake to crash land the plane in. Luckily, the Yukon is riddled with ponds and lakes.

Finally, he found a lake big enough to put the plane down in. He started his landing into the lake. When he came down he misjudged the landing and was hitting the tops of trees. Luckily, the mistake was small and he ended up in the lake. Brian got out of the sinking plane and swam to the shore, where he passed out. When he woke up he got his bearings and made himself a lean-to shelter with branches he cut with his hatchet that was still attached to his belt. After he built his shelter he gathered some berries to eat.

After he did all that it was getting late and he was thirsty. Brian went down to the lake and started drinking and drinking and drinking. After he gorged himself on the stagnant water he felt sick. He then proceeded to throw up until he passed out. He woke up in the morning and still feeling sick, he made his way to the lean to and slept for about two or more days straight.

After resting he felt good and ready to go. Brian realized that he had to go swim out to the plane and dive down and get some needed supplies. He then went out and got the needed survival kit. Having limited energy and strength he had to choose what he needed most to survive. After that, he felt hungry and ate some of the berries he had picked. He soon found out that the berries were not edible. Brian once again found out the hard way and got very sick. The next day he went exploring to find fresh water and edible food. He soon found a fresh stream just below the shelter he had made.

He found edible berries to eat on the other end of the lake. He then gathered berries until dark. That night he ate and drank with no consequence. He then fell asleep. He later was awakened by an animal in his lean-to. Brian kicked it and then felt a sharp pain in his leg.

After the animal left, Brian found out he had an encounter with a porcupine. His four legged friend left Brian with a painful souvenir of his visit, a leg full of barbed quills. The next morning he took the quills out and patched himself up and then put a make shift door on his lean to so no more visitors would bother him.

After spending a few more days in the wilderness a plane flew by and caught the attention of Brian. He ran out and waved at the plane and luckily the pilot saw him and radioed for help. Later that day Brian was going home in a helicopter with his mother and father. In the end it all turned out all right and Brian still goes to see his father in the Yukon.

I really liked this story and I would recommend it to anyone. I think Gary Paulsen is an excellent author and I love all the books I have read by him. If I had to say who my favorite author is it would be Gary Paulsen. I think this book was put together very well and the story line behind it is excellent. This is one of the best books I have ever read.

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