RonKim's picture

Ron Kim

“Who knows your plane might crash in a lake, and you have to face the wilderness alone some day.” When you read the book Hatchet, you will find out your own ways to survive in any hardships. This adventurous book was written by Gary Paulsen, and published in 1987. The setting of the book was mostly in Hampton, New York, the Canadian north woods, New York City. The main character, 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 him and becomes a man, and all Brian had was a hatchet that his mother gave him before he left. Therefore, Hatchet is an enjoyable novel and deeper than it appears because it tells readers themes of never giving up and capability of living harmoniously with nature.
In my opinion, the book Hatchet is perfect for teaching us how to survive in wilderness by telling us the two impressive themes. First theme is never giving up. This theme really affects the readers because it tells that without hope, life is meaningless. Brian learns this the hard way, but the power of never give up is what sustains him when he faces the most difficult challenges to his survival. Critic Sam Delgado states “Brian gets in a plane wreck onto the way to see his dad in Canada. He has to survive in the wild on his own until someone saves him. He builds his own shelter and hunts to get his food. He is in danger everywhere he goes. You got to read the rest to see how he overcomes the danger.” Whenever Brian faced obstacles, he could overcome them because of his positive characteristic of never giving up. For example, while the plane was flying without control, Brian picked up the CB radio and called for help, and that was his first way that he survived in hardships. Brian tried to face the loneliness as possible as he can because the fact that his parents divorced made him lonelier, and the hatchet that Brian’s mom gave him was really helpful because it gave him a little feeling of not being alone in the wild. When I read this book, I could imagine the complete loneliness he gets from being alone in the wilderness. However, the parts where he tries to never give up, was really convincing because he showed the readers how to respond to loneliness.
As the theme of never giving up is really convincing, another theme, capability of living harmoniously with nature, was really impressive. This is especially seen in how Brian learns to solve problems that will potentially be life threatening. He calls upon his intelligence, memory, and youth to overcome such experiences as creating fire, fighting off a moose, building shelter, and finding food. Critic Katherine Mitchell states, “Hatchet is a touching story about a boy who is the sole survivor of a tragic plane crash. What can he eat? Where can he sleep? He must learn to fight and survive in the untamed wilderness of Canada." In order to survive, he tried many things from the nature. Also, Brian accomplished how to survive through trial and error from nature. If he did not have the capability to live harmoniously with nature, he could not accomplish. For example, when Brian made a bow and arrow, his first bow snapped into tiny pieces. However, he used stronger wood, and he finally made a perfect bow and arrow. Another thing that helped Brian survive was that he became more aware of what was around him and this played a large role in finding food.
This adventurous novel Hatchet is mainly about surviving in the wild. In Critic Arielle Austin’s review, she states “Hatchet is about a young boy who is stuck in the wilderness. He is on his way to visit his father in an airplane when the pilot dies from a heart attack and can no longer control the plane. Then he crashes into the Canadian wilderness and must fight for his life.” In my opinion, the book Hatchet is very impressive because the author shows all these hardships and accomplishments Brian had, and how he overcome those hardships by the theme of man's struggle against nature, but also his capability to live harmoniously with nature, which demonstrates his love and respect for nature. I really suggest reading this exciting novel to children and grown ups because the book motivated me to have positive attitudes, and many people will face loneliness and obstacles. Therefore, they have to find out the essential methods to survive in our society, as Brian survived in the wilderness alone.