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The Hatchet: Research Paper


This book is about a boy named Brian Roberson who gets stuck in the wilderness when his plane crash-lands because the pilot has a heart attack. It all started when Brian’s parents had a divorce. He was sent away on a plane by his mother because it was summertime when his dad had custody. The parting gift his mother gave him was a hatchet. He wore the hatchet on a belt. When he left on the private little Cessna 406 plane in the copilot’s seat he never could imagine how this little trip would change his life. In the airplane he thought a lot about his parents and the secret he kept.

The secret was that he knew that his mom was having an affair with another man when she was still married to his father. Brian was thinking this until the pilot interrupted his thoughts and asked him if he has ever been in a copilot’s seat before. He answered by saying that he has never been on an airplane. The pilot showed Brian how to fly the airplane by letting him fly for a while. A little after Brian finished he was thinking again about his parents when he noticed that the pilot was rubbing his shoulder and jaw. A few minutes later the pilot said to Brian that he was in a lot of pain and he started using the radio to signal for help. He didn’t make it long enough to talk and had a massive heart attack.

When he had the heart attack he hit the right rudder making the plane swoop right. Brian could not believe what happened. He had an idea to use the radio. But just before the radio transmission broke he remembered how to use the radio and said into it that his pilot had a heart attack and he didn’t know how to fly the plane. They answered back by asking where he was and what were the conditions. Th radio lost the signal and Brian was stuck flying the plane. Brian flew for about three hours till he realized he was going to run out of fuel. There was only one thing to do in the middle of the wilderness with only trees everywhere.

He would have to crash land it. He knew every once and a while there was a lake. He decided he would land in one. He saw a lake and tilted the plane down. Th plane came down fast. Brian crashed into the lake and banged up his head and his body bad. All he knew was he was alive. He swam out of the plane and came to shore. His forehead hurt so bad that anything that barely touched it made sharp pain goes through his head. He laid his head on the sand with his feet halfway in the water and fell asleep.

When Brian awoke he was really thirsty. He went to the lake and drank a lot of water from there. There was another problem, he found himself really hungry too. He did not know what to eat. He didn’t want to think about another thing too. How far he went off his original destination course. They might not find him for along time and also he needed shelter. He could not make a fire. The only tool he had was a hatchet.

The first thing he did was find some shelter near the lake. He found a rock ledge that had a tiny cave that was a little shorter than him lengthwise. It was right near the lake. The way he thought of eating was to get berries in a bush that he found in the forest. After he eats the berries he went to sleep. In the middle of the night Brian awoke and was in horrible pain. He threw up many times and had a lot of diarrhea. After an hour of that he went to sleep. The next few days he ate raspberries and found out that he could make a fire from the sparks from the hatchet. After a few days of living on berries he was thinking and he heard turtles. He realized that turtles hatch eggs and he could eat them. He gathered a few and ate them whole and raw. He saved a few.

For the next few days he was settling in and trying not to give up hope when one day he was looking at the lake and saw a bird eat a fish and realized that he could eat the fish. He tried catching the fish by making a spear but that didn’t work. He kept stabbing at one and the fish would jump away. So he made a bow and arrow with wood and shoelace over the next couple of days. He thought that would be fast enough to catch the fish. When he was making the bow and arrow he heard a plane and he ran to get a fire started but the plane left before he could that brought his hopes down to zero. After that he tried using the bow and arrow to catch fish but it did not work.

While he was thinking why it did not work he remembered that he learned in school that water retracts light. So he aimed up and to the left a little and caught his first fish. He cooked it over the fire and ate it very fast. Right when he was done with the first fish he caught another one and ate it and repeated the process the whole day. The next day he decided to hunt rabbits and some other kind of bird he called a fool bird. He was always hungry. For the next few days he just would eat and hunt. One night he awoke from his sleep by a strong sound of wind. He went to look out side to see what it was but got thrown back into the rock.

After he realized it was a tornado he ran outside in the pouring rain to see if his tools, bow and arrow and berries he saved were still there. He saw nothing. All his tools and food he saved was gone. All that was left was the hatchet. When he inspected everything the next morning he found a yellow thing sticking out of the lake and noticed it was the plane. He realized that the tornado brought the plane to the surface. He started working on surviving all over again. He found his bow and one arrow. That night as he was sleeping he was thinking about he plane and the pilot and also how the survival kit that they have in those planes was still down there when he realized he needed the survival pack.

The next morning he caught some fish and ate them and then made a raft so he could go to the lake and get the survival kit. The next morning he waded in the water of the lake and floated with the raft to the boat. He then took a deep breath and went under the water where the plane was. He could not get in the plane because there was no way to get in. Brian was so mad he hit the plane and the planes aluminum lining gave away. He tried with the Hatchet and it worked better. It came off like soft cheese when he used the Hatchet. He held his breath and after a few tries going under he made a whole big enough he could fit in. He went under again found the bag and came up. When he came back to shore he searched threw the bag and it contained food, gun, sleeping bag, cook set,
knife, emergency transmitter, and a first aid kit. It was a treasure to him.

He looked over all the stuff. The first thing he did was try the emergency transmitter. He switched the switch but nothing happened. He thought it was broken and put it to the side. He first ate the food that was in the survival kit. When he was eating a plane came over head and landed in the lake. The man that came out said he heard his emergency transmitter. It had worked and he was saved after spending fifty-four days in the wilderness alone he had survived. That is the summary of the book called The Hatchet.

Where and when:

This book takes place in 1988. Its setting is not known in exact location but in the Canadian wilderness where the plane had to crash land. In the Canadian Wilderness there is wide vast area’s of trees. Brian landed in a lake where the plane would not be destroyed by trees. That is where and when it took place.


The main character of Hatchet is Brian Robenson. He is a 13 year old from the city. Alone in the wilderness, after surviving a plane crash, Brian encounters challenges as he faces survival. Wild animal attacks and a tornado and survival are the main dangers Brian faces.
The secondary characters in the story are Brian’s mother and the pilot. Brian’s mother never makes a direct appearance, but she surfaces in Brian’s thoughts throughout the story. The other character who has a major effect in the story is the pilot. While Brian is flying to his father’s home in the Canadian oil fields, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. With the pilot’s death, Brian is left alone in the airplane, which continues to fly until it runs out of fuel and crashes.

Favorite character:

My favorite character is Brian for a few reasons. One reason is because he is the main character out of three. Also because he is very brave and smart. He was smart enough to save himself through a tornado and to find food by only using a hatchet. That is why he is my favorite character.


I would recommend this book for a few reasons. My first reason would be because it was very realistic. Another reason was that is was a great survival book and had a lot of tips on how to survive. The only negative thing about the book was that he kept on having flashbacks on how his mom had an affair. In conclusion this book is a great book.

About author:

Born May 17, 1939, Gary Paulsen is one of America’s most popular writers for young people. Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read–along with his own library card -he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with carnival, Gary Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure. A youthful summer of rigorous chores on a farm; jobs as an engineer, construction worker, ranch hand, truck driver, and sailor; and two rounds of the 1,180 mile Alaskan dog sled race, the Iditarod, have provided ample material from which he creates his powerful stories.

Paulsen’s realization that he would become a writer came suddenly when he was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm in California. One night he walked off the job, never to return. He spent the next year in Hollywood as a magazine proofreader, working on his own writing every night. Then he left California and drove to northern Minnesota where he rented a cabin on a lake; by the end of the winter, he had completed his first novel.


First sentence is books sentence. Second are my sentences.

1.Stagger pg.45, verb. To move or cause to move unsteadily.
He rose and staggered his way back to the bank.
When the man got shot he staggered back.

2.Consuming pg.1, verb. To eat or drink up.
It was a small plane, a Cessna 406-a bushplane and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.
I consumed the whole steak dinner at the restaurant.

3.Indicating pg.3, verb. To demonstrate or point out.
Brian saw all the switches and dials indicating nothing that he understood and the pilot seemed the same way.
I indicated the amount they were paying me was not enough.

4.Sloshing pg.54, verb. To splash or flounder as in water or another liquid.
Gradually, like sloshing oil his thoughts settled back and the panic was gone.
After it rained I went sloshing through the puddles of water.

5.Diminish pg.57, verb. To make or become smaller or less important.
He wanted to stay near the lake because he thought the plane would show up to somebody flying over and he didn’t want diminish any chance of them finding him.
When the food was served at the restaurant I diminished my plate of food very fast because I was hungry.

6.Tart pg.64, adjective. Having a sharp pungent taste; sour
It wasn’t that they were bitter so much as that the lacked any sweetness, had a tart flavor that left his mouth dry feeling.
I ate the candy and it tasted very tart.

7.Flailing pg.110, verb. To beat or thrash with or as if with a flail.
He tried throwing it, jabbing it, everything but flailing with it and it didn’t work.
When the man was drowning he was flailing his arms around yelling help.

8.Tapered pg.111, verb. To become gradually smaller.
He had pulled the head of his spear against it, carving a thin piece off each time, until the thick end tapered down to a needlepoint.
I tapered the end of the stick to make it sharp.

9.Exasperated pg.138, verb. To make angry or irritated.
They exasperated him to the point where they were close to driving him insane.
I exasperated the coach so much that he threw me off the team.

10.Fluttered pg.142, verb. To wave or flap lightly, rapidly and irregularly.
The bird had fluttered a bit and Brian had grabbed it and held it in both hands until he was sure it was dead.
When I shot the bird with my rifle it fluttered a lot when it came down.

11.Sputtered pg.150, verb. To spit out small particles in short bursts.
He sputtered to the surface, sucking air and fighting panic he got up slowly.
I sputtered because the little air supply and dust inside the cave.

12.Prospect pg.135, noun. Something expected or foreseen.
But his fish-trash pile of bones and guts was in the pond area and the prospect of food brought them back.
The prospect of mine was that the Marlins would win the World Series.

13.Speckled pg.144, noun. A small spot or specks.
Their wings and tail feathers were long and pretty-banded and speckled in browns and grays and light reds.
Some kinds of birds eat insects that are camouflaged with speckles.

14.Cluttered pg.167, noun. A confused or disordered state or collection.
The limbs were cluttered together any which way.
When I dropped the dishes they made aloud cluttering noise.

15.Hatchet pg.88, noun. A short handled ax.
He put the hatchet back in his belt and went out of the shelter.
I used the hatchet to chop some wood for the winter.

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