Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Book Summary and Review) – Minute Book Report

This is a quick book summary and analysis of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This channel discusses and reviews books, novels, and short stories through drawing…poorly. New Minute Book Reports are posted every week.

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This is a story about a boy named Brian who is flying from New York to Canada to spend time with his father. However, during the flight, the pilot of the small aircraft dies of a heart attack and Brian is forced to land the plane.

Fortunately, Brian survives the plane crash, but suffers several injuries. He builds a shelter and gathers supplies, but really doesn’t know what he is doing.

After his wounds heal, Brian begins to learn and adapt to his new environment. He starts to recognize what’s edible and even starts a fire.

Just when things begin to look good for Brian, bad luck strikes and he is attacked by a moose and a tornado wipes out his camp.

In the aftermath of the tornado, however, the tail of his plane surfaces in the nearby lake. He swims to the plane and retrieves a survival pack. Among the supplies is an emergency transmitter.

In the end, Brian is rescued and discovers a newfound respect for nature.

Readers understand early on that Brian is very vulnerable in the wild. He is consistently slowed by his injuries and inability to do much for himself. A lot of what he thinks he knows about survival often comes from popular culture, like TV shows and movies.

However, Brian begins to learn about his environment and matures his survival instinct. He first recognizes his disadvantage in nature when he begins collecting food and wood. He understands that he must gather enough food and wood not just for the present, but also for the future in case he ever were to get hurt or injured. And it’s from this foresight and progressive thinking that Brian demonstrates his understanding of survival.

One of the great realizations that Brian has in the wild is that everything in nature is constantly trying to eat. This realization pushes Brian to create innovative solutions to gather food, whether it be weapons for hunting or a fish farm.

And as Brian begins to reinvent technology to harvest food around him, readers also recognize that his tastes change. At first, Brian is content with eating berries. Later, however, he craves fish, bird, and bigger game.

The conclusion of the story includes two rescues for Brian. The first is his physical rescue from the wilderness, but the second rescue is from the bitterness and disdain towards his mother. After Brian discovers that his mother’s affair led to his parents’ divorce, he strongly holds it against her. However, through surviving life-threatening situations, Brian puts his family drama in perspective. He never forgets his mother’s actions, but at least he can let go.

Through Minute Book Reports, hopefully you can get the plot and a few relevant discussion points in just a couple of minutes.

Music by WingoWinston from newgrounds.com.


Air Charter
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