Free Study Guide for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen|
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STUDY GUIDE FOR HATCHET BY GARY PAULSEN FREE BOOKNOTES
The protagonist of a story is the main character who traditionally undergoes
some sort of change. He or she must usually overcome some opposing force.
In this story, the protagonist is Brian Robeson who is only a thirteen
year old boy when life forces him to call upon all of his intelligence
and innate skills to find a way to survive when his plane crashes in the
Canadian woods. He is deeply hurt by a Secret that he knows about his
mother and how that Secret led to his parents’ divorce. Over the days
that he spends in the woods of Canada, he must put the Secret aside and
learn to be a man.
The antagonist of a story is the force that provides an obstacle for
the protagonist. The antagonist does not always have to be a single character
or even a character at all. In this story, the antagonist is Nature and
all its dangers as well as its beauties. Brian must learn to live within
the boundaries that Nature forces upon him and accept his fate. Another
antagonist is Brian himself as he battles against his tendency to just
give up when this new life seems too difficult. He also must end his obsession
with the Secret and the divorce and learn to live with what he cannot
The climax of a story is the major turning point that determines the
outcome of the plot. The climax of this story occurs when Brian finally
finds a way into the tail of the plane after a tornado dislodges it from
the bottom of the lake. Within it are the “treasures” he believes he will
need to continue his life in the woods of Canada.
Also known as the resolution or denouement, this is the place in the
plot where the action is resolved or clarified. After Brian obtains the
treasure from the tail of the crashed plane, he finds an emergency transmitter
which he accidentally turns on. He doesn’t realize he’s done so, because
there is so perceivable change in it, and he disregards it while he takes
pleasure from all the other supplies he finds in the pack. Just then,
he hears the sound of another plane which lands on the lake. The pilot
had picked up the signal from the emergency transmitter and now has come
to rescue him at last. This is followed by an Epilogue which explains
all the Brian learned from his survival experience and how, even though
his parents do not reconcile, he can keep the Secret just that, a secret,
so no one else will be hurt by it.
Brian Robeson, a thirteen year old boy traveling in a small airplane to Canada to spend the summer with his father, is involved in a plane crash in an uninhabited part of the Canadian woods after the pilot dies of a heart attack. Brian then must find a way to survive and in the process, discovers much about himself and becomes a man. The motif within this story is a bildungsroman, or a young boy’s coming of age.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Hatchet".
. 11 May 2008