The Story of Brian Robeson in Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet”

Category: Books, Hatchet
Last Updated: 24 Feb 2023
Pages: 4 Views: 23

I read the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. The book was about a thirteen-year-old boy named Brian Robeson who was stranded in a plane crash. He was out in the Canadian wilderness trying to visit his dad. Brian is left with nothing but his clothing a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

First as Brian and the pilot were flying to Brian father's house the pilot was showing Brian how to fly the plane." Here, put your hands on the controls, your feet on the rudder pedals, and I'll show you what I mean"(P. 4). During the flight the pilot seemed to be having trouble with pain in his arm and side. Little did he know that this was a sign of a major heart attack. "And now a jolt took him like a hammer blow, so forcefully that he seemed to crush back into the seat, and Brian reached for him, could not understand at first what it was, could not know. And then knew" (P.10). Brian was left all alone, to fly the plane by himself and he knew he didn't have much of a chance to survive.

Next the big problem was that the plane ran out of fuel and it took a slight dive. The plane went into a glide and continued to descend. He spotted a lake and steered towards the lake. He wasn't a good pilot and ended up in the trees instead of the lake were he originally wanted to go. "There were great wrenching as the wings caught the pines at the side of the clearing and broke back, ripping back just outside the main braces"( P. 28). Brian and the plane both ended up at the bottom of the lake with Brian ripping free and swimming to the surface. Brian swam ashore and fell on the beach with soreness and pain. Brian knew that he was out of luck. Brian sat and slept against a tree until the next day. Brian was left on the beach, all alone by himself in the Canadian wilderness.

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Brian was left only with his clothing and a hatchet that hung from his belt. Brian began to set up a camp for himself." At one time in the far past it had been scooped by something, probably a glacier, and this scooping had left a kind of sideways bowl, back in under a ledge. It wasn't deep, not a cave, but it was smooth and made a perfect roof and he could almost stand in under the ledge"(P 57). Brian began to hunt for food and found only berries and drank from the lake for water. Brian eventually created a spear to catch fish and other small animals. This all progressed very slowly. Brian also eventually found out how to make a fire created by sparks from his hatchet and a rock striking together. Brian lived for nearly two months in the woods all alone. Each day that Brian lived he discovered or learned something new. He was living pretty well when he ran into a couple of unexplainable disasters. First he had shot a bird with a bow that he made of a stick and his shoelace. He was cleaning the bird and his tools in the lake when a moose trampled on him and tried to kill him. The moose pushed him down in the water and wouldn't let him up." It was a cow and she had no horns, but she took him in the left side of the back with her forehead, took him and threw him out into the water and then came after him to finish the job" (P. 150). The next near death encounter for Brian was when a tornado struck him and moved through his camp. It was wind, wind like the sound of a train, with the low belly roar of a train. It was a tornado!" (P. 154).

The day after the tornado came through the camp out in the lake the tail of the plane was sticking out of the water. This gave Brian a great idea, to get the survival pack from the plane. "And inside the plane, near the tail somewhere, was the survival pack" (P. 163). Brian built a raft to float him out to the plane. He started cutting away pieces of the plane with his hatchet. Eventually he got inside and made it out with the pack. By this time it was dark and he was beat. He just made it back to the camp and collapsed. The next morning he opened the pack like a kid at Christmas time. Inside the pack he found a sleeping bag and a foam sleeping pad, a cook set with utensils, a waterproof container with matches and two butane lighters, a knife with a built in compass, a first aid kit a baseball hat, a fishing kit with tackle, a collapsible rifle with ammo, soap, food, and an emergency transmitter. Brian was cooking himself a beef dinner when he got a response to the emergency signal the transmitter sent out. A man had flown his plane down and landed it onto the lake. Brian was stupefied. The man couldn't believe that Brian was still alive. All of the search parties had given up looking a month ago. Brian was going home.

I have decided that if Brian didn't have a strong mind he would not have lived. I truly believe that mind over matter is true to an extent. I thought this was a great novel and I would recommend this novel to anyone who has not read it. Gary Paulson has created a masterpiece, great work. I really enjoyed the novel. Remember the name Hatchet, by Gary Paulson.

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The Story of Brian Robeson in Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet”. (2023, Feb 24). Retrieved from

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