Hatchet Study Guide

Hatchet Study Guide

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“Hatchet” is an amazing adventure novel written by American writer Gary Paulsen.

This novel tells the story about Brian, a young 13-year-old boy whose parents are divorced. Brian survived a plane crash that left him alone in a desert in Canada. Through internal conflict, external forces acting against him, and with the help of his ax (a recent gift from his mother), Brian learns to survive on his own for the next two months.

“Hatchet” is an adventure story that will transfer its hero from a common city boy to a survivalist in a manner of days. Paulsen breaks down various types of conflict and helps readers better understand how a small event can affect a larger story plot.

Brian's experience in the woods completely changes his attitude toward the natural world. But it also makes him realize his life before the crash. Paulsen draws a parallel between life in the wild nature to life in the city. Nature is represented in the book as a scary, dangerous place that the urban man has happily run away. Brian's life depends on his skills and ability to take care of himself: to find food and shelter, to avoid a clash with dangerous animals, to be still alive until he is saved. Brian's hatchet, in this case, is the only property that he carries all the way through the book, and in many moments it's the mean of his survival. It is his only hope in an isolated wilderness.

The main hero shows his strong will and positiveness, through the whole time he never lost hope for survival. Instead of looking back at what happened and being mad, he realizes how much it taught him.

This is this story that catches the breath: it seems that at every moment Brian is forced to face a life-and-death decision. Poetic texture and realistic events are tied to create something beyond adventure, a book that plunges readers into hero`s experience.

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