This story about a young boy stranded in the Canadian wilderness will never lose it’s affect on me. Being a child of divorce I can totally empathize with Brian’s struggles to cope. And I appreciate Gary Paulsen’s comparing that struggle with actual survival. But this book is in no way a sermon on how to deal with divorce. It’s about learning to co-exist, and to overcome any obstacles. The descriptions of how Brian went about ensuring his survival, only with the use of his hatchet (hence the title) were awe inspiring when a pre-teen and the book still retains a sentimental hold over my heart as an adult. the encounters with wildlife range from comical to downright horrifying. Hatchet made me appreciate the things I had and also allowed me to realize that I shouldn’t seek too hard the things I desired to have but didn’t. Overall this is a great book to give your 10-13 year old, a book about respect for nature, appreciation for life, and above all understanding that you can make it through the toughtest of situations as long as you have the right tools and are willing to learn how to use them.

Q 1 – Brian uses his skills of observation to take stock of his surroundings. Record what Brian finds as he checks out his possessions. Predict how he might use each possession to help him survive. 

Q2 – How did you react to Brian’s thoughts and actions? Do you think that he is sensible or unreasonable? Explain your answer. 

Q3 – Why is Brian visiting his father in Canada? How does Brian feel about his mother?

Q4 – What is Brian’s plan for landing the plane? What conclusions can you draw about Brian from the actions he takes before the crash?

 Q5 – What lesson does Brian recall from Mr. Perpich, his English teacher? How does that lesson help Brian as he sits beside the lake?

 Q6 – Sometimes Brian’s thoughts go back to an earlier time, when he was with his mother. What effect do these “breaks” have on the story?

 Q7 – Are Brian’s reactions to the pilot’s death and the crash realistic? Does Brian seem like a real thirteen-year-old? Explain your answer.

 Q8 – How did you react to what happens to Brian in chapters 6–12? What went through your mind at the end of chapter 12?

 Q9 – Where does Brian find shelter? Why does he consider the find lucky?

Q10 – What does Brian see among the raspberry bushes? What does he learn from this experience?

 Q11 – What wild visitor helps Brian figure out how to build a fire? How? What does the fire mean to Brian?

 Q12 – What do you learn about Brian from his dreams and memories that you have not learned from other parts of the story?

 Q13 – What do you think Brian means when he tells himself that self-pity doesn’t work?

Q14 – Were you surprised by the events described in the Epilogue? Did you wish events had turned out differently? Explain.

 Q15 – What tools does Brian make and for what does he use them? How does this accomplishment make Brian feel about himself and his situation?

 Q16 – In what two ways does Brian measure time? Which way has the most meaning for him and why?

 Q17 – What causes Brian to have to rebuild his shelter twice? Why does Brian spend so much time on rebuilding?

 Q18 – The author spends more than two chapters describing Brian’s trip out to the plane and back. What effect does this description have on the reader?

 Q19 – Why might Brian have mixed feelings about using some of the items in the survival pack?

 Q20 – What questions would you like to ask Brian about his experience? Do you find his experience believable? How do you think you would have dealt with a similar situation?


75 Responses to “Hatchet”

  1. Q6: It has a sad affect on the story.

  2. Q5: It doesn’t say any thing about that in the story.

  3. Q4: Brian is going to crash in a lake to decrease the impact. I think that he did the right thing thinking on how he could crash. He hardly survived the crash in the lake so he would have never survived on land.

  4. Q20: I would probably do the same thing as Brian in this situation. And I would ask him how it felt to see a person have a heart attack.

  5. Q20 I would ask how he survived. I would be bleavible

  6. Q19: He might have mixed feelings about the shotgun.

  7. Q19: Because he has been using nature to do stuff.

  8. Q18: It has the affect that makes it feel important.

  9. Q18 This makes it feel important to the reader.

  10. Q17:A tornado causes him to rebuild his shelter. It takes so long because he wants to make ti more stirdy.

  11. Q17: Atornado causes him to build his shelter twice. So that it will be better than the one he built before.

  12. Q16: He used the sun and his watch. The one that was most important was his the sun.

  13. Q16 He uses the sun and his watch to tell time. He tells when the sun will start going down.

  14. Q15:he made a bow and arrow and a spear. he used them for fishing.

  15. Q15: He uses a bow and arrow to hunt fish. He also made a spear.

  16. Q1 brian can use his hathet to kill animals he can us his money to get food if there is a wierd person that wants money he can use the odd pieces of paper for a bandage

  17. Q14: Yes I was suprised because his parents got back together. I wouldn’t change anything.

  18. Q14: i was suprised because his parents got back together after the divorce

  19. I think that it means that having pity on himself won;t get him out of the situation.

  20. Q13 I think that he means that feeling bad for himself wont make anything better.

  21. I learned that Brian is a very smart kid who knows how to use his resources and things he has seen to survive.

  22. Q12: I learned that to make a dream come true you have to work for it. Brian worked to find a way back home.

  23. The porkipine didn’t exactly help him but if it had not came along Brian would not have throwns the hatchet, hit the wall, and saw the spark.

  24. Q12: I saw how he changed throughout the story.

  25. Q10: He saw some wolves and a bear and he relized he wuold have to change some of the things he does in the wilderness.

  26. Q11: The porrkipine helps Brian when he throws his hatchet at the wall and sparks come out. The fire means alot to Brian.

  27. Q9:He found shelter under a ledge and he called himself lucky becuase he might not have found the shelter.

  28. Q10: He saw wolves and a bear. He learned that he should change his habbits in nature.

  29. Q8: At the end of chater 12 I thought he was not going to make it since he didn’t have much resources.

  30. Q1
    He use is possesions for survival,
    Example his hatchet helped him survive.

  31. Q7: His reactions were scared and worried but not as scared as you think you wuold be when you see some one die right in front of you. He seems more intelligent than a thirteen year old because he is using his resources to survive in the wilderness.

  32. Q6: It puts emotional breaks in the story when he tinks about his mom because he might never see her again.

  33. I dont remember the part about mis teacher but I remember he talked about him watching those survival shows and how the guy showed him tricks how to survive.

  34. His plan was to crash the plane in the near by L shaped lake when he ran out of gas. I think his actions would be panicing and not knowing if he was going to live.

  35. Q9: He finds sheleter under a ledge. He conciders himself lucky because he may not have found it.

  36. Q8: I thought that he wouldn’t survive.

  37. Q7: Yes they are reasonable. I think if I were a 13 year-old I would react the same way.

  38. Q6: They make him think about how it would how the smell of his mom’s food smelled.

  39. Q5: He learned that he could be safe in the wilderness by eating what you can find.

  40. Q4: His plan is to land in the water so that it is a softer landing and not get as injured as he would be if he landed on land.

  41. Q3: He is visiting because his parents are devorced. He thinks that his mother was nice to let him go to his father’s house

  42. I thought they were reasonable so that he could survive in the wilderness.

  43. Q1: Brian used his souroundings for his supplies.

  44. Q3: He is going to visit his father in Canada because his parents are divorced.

  45. Q2: I react to his actions in a way like that the thing he is doing may not be the best decision. But I do think that he is very sensible doing whatever he can to survive.

  46. Q3- Since Brians parents are devorced his father moved to Canada and that is where Brian spends his summers.

  47. I think that Brian is a sensible kind of person because he thought of using items of an everyday life to help him survive

  48. Q1: He used his possesions like his hatchet to help him survive in the Canadian forest. He used it as protection from animals and used it to make fire.

  49. Q1: He used his possesions for example his hatchet to help him survive in the Canadian forest.

  50. Q1-
    Brian has his hatchet ( the best ), a quarter, 3 dimes, a nickel, 2 pennies, a fingernail clipper, 20 dollars, and some odd pieces of paper. Also his clothes and watch,but most important Brian had himself!
    Hatchet- fire, shelter.
    Money- spend ( if he gets home ).
    Paper- burn.
    Clothes- stay warm.
    Watch- strap together something.
    Fingernail clipper- cut something small ( can’t tear ).

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