Free Study Guide for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen|
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STUDY GUIDE FOR HATCHET BOOK SUMMARY
Another element that is important to note is irony - when something
happens, or is seen, or is heard that we may know, but the characters
do not, or that appears opposite of what is expected. Some examples of
1.) It is ironic that Brianís mother gives him a hatchet as a gift before
he leaves, because it is the tool that will mean survival for him.
2.) It is ironic that the tornado had somehow, when crossing the lake,
changed the position of the plane and raised the tail. This gives Brian
the opportunity to retrieve the survival pack.
3.) It is ironic that he drops the hatchet in the lake, because it is
the one tool he cannot afford to lose.
4.) Brian finally finds the survival kit even though he has learned on his own how to survive.
5.) He finds a rifle which makes him unsettled, because its power and mastery seem to separate him from the wilderness that has become his home and he doesnít like the feeling.
6.) Just as he is savoring his new-found wealth that nearly killed him
to recover, his ordeal ends with the arrival of a plane.
7.) Brian unwittingly turns on the Emergency Transmitter which brings the plane to rescue him.
8.) Brian has been rescued just before the winter comes on; he discovers in his research that he might not have survived that experience.
Another literary device used by the author is a motif. This device allows
the author to run an important idea throughout the story by using images
to create the thought for the reader. There are two motifs used in Hatchet:
1.) Bildungsroman which is a motif whereby a young boy grows, matures, and comes of age. The reader sees this in the following ways: he saves his own life when he escapes the submerged airplane; he comes to realize he is his won best asset; he learns to build a shelter and find food; he learns that giving into despair wonít work; he learns to build a fire; two things - his body and his mind - have made a connection that he doesnít quite understand yet, but which he knows has occurred; he has changed, and he values different things; he learns from mistakes such as the skunk; he learns to kill meat like the foolbird; he learns patience by waiting until he has his strength back before he tries to get the survival pack from the plane; he retrieves the pack from the plane; and he becomes mature enough to know that revealing the Secret will only bring more pain to those he loves.
2.) The second motif concerns a ďdeus ex machinaĒ or translated, a god by way of a machine. This refers to an authorís technique of writing a rescue for his hero in a somewhat supernatural or unbelievable way. Brian has finally retrieved the survival pack and has created a way to survive for a long time, when, suddenly and unexpectedly, an airplane appears, and he is saved. It is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poeís story The Pit and the Pendulum where the hero, who has been an object of torture, is about to fall into a pit to his death. Unexpectedly, the army arrives, and a hand reaches out and grabs him just as he is about to fall.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Hatchet".
. 11 May 2008