My Reflections Over the Book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


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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.

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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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