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Hardships, Triumphs, and Experiences in Paulsen’s Hatchet

Powerful Essays
In Paulsen’s Hatchet, Brian’s adventure is made up of more than just smooth sailing as he lives in the woods, as the hardships he faces start before he ever enters the woods. Brian’s life is already very hard, as he lives with his mother, a single woman, far away from his father. Brian’s parents are going through a very bitter divorce, which pulls Brian between both parents (Saurino). The pilot of the airplane suffers a heart attack, and Brian must make a difficult decision (Sutherland). He must decide whether to land the plane early, to avoid flying too far away from help, or to keep the plane flying and use the pilots radio to call for help. Eventually, Brian decides to land the plane in the Canadian wilderness.
When Brian wakes up, he is overcome with dread. His body aches and his mind is cloudy, but he remembers where he is and his instincts take over. He builds a shelter, and as he settles down for the night he realizes that he is not the only one living in the woods. A porcupine comes into his shelter and attacks him in the middle of the night, leaving its quills in his lower leg, and Brian in extreme pain. His experience that night, though it helped him discover how to make a fire, left him scarred and his will broken. On another day, Brian finds a berry bush, and is overjoyed to find such readily available food, until he eats too many of them and finds that they upset his stomach extremely. This demonstrates his trouble finding food and surviving in the woods.
Brian also has many hardships with the animals he encounters in the wilderness. On the night Brian eats the berries, he is confronted by a female moose, which attacks him in the lake and breaks his ribs. It was this that made Brian realize that he was not the o...

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...ia J. Campbell. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. 39-65. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Scot Peacock. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Saurino, Mary Ann. "Review of Hatchet.." Five Owls 5 (Mar. 1991): 70. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Scot Peacock. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Sutherland, Zena. "Review of Hatchet.." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 41.4 (Dec. 1987): 73. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Gerard J. Senick. Vol. 19. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Wilson, Evie. "Review of Hatchet.." Voice of Youth Advocates 10.6 (Feb. 1988): 283. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Scot Peacock. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
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