The Hatchet

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uppladdat: 2000-10-16
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The book I have read, the Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, is about a 13-year-old boy named Brian Robeson whose parents recently got divorced. He had been living with his mother since the separation of his parents, and it was now time for Brian to visit his father who lived in the Canadian oil fields.

This teenager was constantly in thoughts of the cause of the divorce of his parents. He believed his mother had met a new, blonde and handsome man. Brian kept this belief to himself and referred to it as The Secret.

Brian was extremely excited about the trip to his father, as it would be the very first time for him to fly. He was going to be the sole passenger on a single-engine plane. Right before the take off, his mother gives him a gift; a Hatchet.

Finally up in the air, Brian observes every movement of the pilot, as he found it fascinating. After a while in the air, the pilot starts coughing. It did not take long, until Brian realised that he had suffered a heart attack and was dying. In a terrified, desperate and ignorant manner, Brian guided the plane. The first thing he did though, was to reach over the dead man next to him, to fetch the headset for the radio, in order to be able to call for help. Unfortunately, no one heard him. By this time, the smell in the cabin was dreadful. Brian now became aware of the fact that he, alone had to land the plane in order to survive. In an inexplicable fear, he decided to land on a secluded lake, to minimize the risk of dying. A few minutes later, Brian was situated in the middle of the enormous Canadian wilderness, after a rather successful landing for an unaccustomed pilot, despite the fact that the plane was wrecked. The remaining part of the book takes place in the wilderness, depicting Brian’s tough struggle for survival. He constantly had to draw on his untested skills and strength. He had to find and build up a shelter, start a fire for warmth and find food to fill his empty stomach. These tasks were not simple for this young boy, who never had experienced anything like this. The birds helpfully ushered Brian directly to the berries in the forest, which he tried to cram his stomach with. Once, when he was picking raspberries, he saw a bear in front of him, and the next morning, he woke up with a porcupine crawling next to him. The animal life in the wild was not as he would have imagined, but he made friends with a few animals like a turtle and a moose. One night, a tornado approached that Brian luckily survived.

After quite a while in the wilderness, Brian finds the hatchet he got from his mother. As time thinking of his parents and their divorce went by, Brian started to respect that fact more and more, even though he hated the man of the Secret.

Brian eventually comes up with a great idea of starting a fire on top of a cliff, to attract the attention of pilots flying by, who then could come to rescue him.

After having spent 54 days alone in the Canadian wilderness, Brian Robeson gets rescued when a plane flying by sees the smoke from his fire billowing up in the sky. Initially he had survived, with only aid of the hatchet given by his mother, which titled the book. This tool had helped him cut wood, make a fire and defend himself by whittling arrows during the time of his sojourn in the wilderness of Canada.

Finally home, Brian realizes how much his life had changed. He was no longer comparable with all the other boys in his neighbourhood, as he had experienced much more. He could now bury the hatchet and continue his life as a city boy as he once had been.

The Hatchet is actually based on a true story, all though I find it hard to think of the story as realistic. Some of the sub-plots are more truth worthy than others. The plot was very simple to understand, though, as the story went on.

In my opinion, this book is rather childish, as it is written in rather austere and simple English, without detailed descriptions of the characters and settings, even though it was a bit mysterious in some parts. The only well-described character is Brian, but as most things are written from his perspective, he is not very characterized either. There are hardly any dialogs in the book, since Brian is by himself in most of the story.

The book is probably intended for the younger generation and is therefore written in a lucid and intelligible way. One thing that I found fairly tedious was the fact that Brian incessantly whined about his lack of food and the Secret. Despite these matters, this to me is reasonably commendable, as it portrays a young boys adventure in the wild, avoiding mis...

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Inactive member [2000-10-16]   The Hatchet
Mimers Brunn [Online]. [2021-06-15]

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