Free Study Guide for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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Brian turns his back on the planeís wreckage and begins to repair the damage to his home. He first gets the fire going again. He finds some of the woven wall still intact and adds to it to re-create his shelter. He finds enough downed pine boughs to make a new bed and decides in his pain and exhaustion that heíll find more food the next day. As he sits in front of his new fire, nearly asleep, a picture comes into his head of the planeís tail sticking out of the water, and he remembers the survival pack inside. He knows it has food, knives, and matches as well as a sleeping bag. It might even have fishing gear. He thinks to himself that he would be so rich if he could just get to it, and he decides all that will be a part of tomorrow.

In the morning, Brian is impatient to get into the plane, but reminds himself that he needs food first. There are fish to be caught, and there might not be anything in the plane. So, he makes a new spear and easily catches three fish. He makes a new fish board to cook them on, and they give him the strength he will need to search the plane.

He has decided that he will need to make a raft and push-paddle it to the planeís tail. Then, he will have to tie it there while he finds a way to get inside. He has a hard time building the raft, because even though he has the right-sized logs, heís unsure how to hold them together. Soon, he realizes that if he finds logs with limbs sticking out, he can weave them together as he had done with his wall and the fish gate. By late afternoon, Brushpile I, as he calls it, is done. He realizes that he canít stand on it, but will have to swim alongside it. He uses his tattered windbreaker as a rope to tie it to the plane.

It proves to be much harder than he thought to get the raft to the plane, and he knows he wonít get the raft to the plane before dark. So Brian makes himself be patient and watches the sun set in the west. It brings him thoughts of his father who he knows is toward the west, and then he turns to the south where his mother is. He wonders what they are doing at that exact moment, and then turns himself again to the sunset. He wonders, should he ever get out of this predicament, if he will ever be sitting in his living room and think of this very sunset. He falls asleep with this thought in his head.

The next day, Brian begins his journey to the planeís tail. It takes him over two hours to push and pull the raft to the planeís tail. He finds a gap on the elevator hinges and ties it there. Somehow he has to get inside the plane, but he can find no openings, and heís afraid to try coming up from the front of the plane, which is still under water, in case he gets trapped. So he finds himself blocked.


Once again, Brian must work out a problem which must be solved as part of his survival. He makes himself be patient and get his strength back before he attempts to get to the plane. He also takes time to thinks of those he may be missing him at home and to appreciate the beauty of the sunset. Both of these are signs of his new maturity. He works out the mechanics of the raft and how to tie it to the plane, but now he must figure out how to get inside the tail. The lack of openings blocks his creative juices at least for the moment. However, the reader senses that just like all the other problems Brian solved, this one will be resolved in some fashion.

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Hatchet by Gary Paulsen Free BookNotes Summary

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