Free Study Guide for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen|
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FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY HATCHET BY GARY PAULSEN
This is the first example of the young boy coming of age. Brian must
now find a way to save his own life. He is forced to call upon all of
his knowledge and understanding that the pilot had given him to find a
way to land the plane. He faces moments of hopelessness, fear, frustration,
and anger and must find the reserves within his own character to plan
how to live. There is no one there to help him. He has only himself and
his own strength.
Brianís brain is screaming to him that heís going to die when he realizes
that there arenít any lakes now below him. He fears having to turn the
plane to find one, and he hyperventilates for a moment considering what
he must do. Then, suddenly, he sees slightly to his right an L-shaped
lake with rounded corners. The plane is facing toward the long part of
the L, so he pushes the right rudder pedal gently, and the nose moves
over the exact area where he wants to come down. It begins to fall slowly,
and then everything seems to happen at once. He falls into a wide space
like a stone, even as he is gently pulling the nose up to slow it down
even more. The wings catch the pines at the edge of a clearing. Dust and
dirt blows into his face in an explosion. The plane slams into the lake,
bounces once on the water, and Brian can hear someone screaming. He doesnít
realize itís his own voice. He pulls himself out of the shattered front
window and swims for the surface. He vomits when his head breaks into
the air and then swims without knowing what he is or what he is doing.
He is still screaming when his hands reach the grass along the shoreline,
and he blacks out into nothingness.
This description of Brian landing the plane is extremely intense both for the character and the reader. The great fear of death is juxtaposed with the even greater desire to live. The fact that the pilot had casually shown him how to control the plane gives him the skills he needs to survive, but his inner strength ultimately makes him act instinctively to escape the water and live.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Hatchet".
. 11 May 2008