Author: Gary Paulson
Main Theme: The story Hatchets theme is determination, perseverance and survival. Brian Robeson, whose parents are divorced, flies to visit his father in Canadian wilderness. His pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian managed to land the plane in a lake, and escape unharmed. Now comes the hard part, surviving in the wilderness until rescued. He does have one tool to help him, a hatchet that his mother had given him as a gift. He will have to use it, his own determination, imagination, perseverance and common sense to survive.
Plot Summary: This flight to see his father in the Canadian wilderness is Brains first time in an airplane. He explains this to the pilot and tells him that he is scared. The pilot feels sorry for Brian and decides to show him that flying is not very difficult. He lets Brian take the steering control and direct the line of flight for a while. Just when Brian thinks that everything is going well, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian knows he must land the plane himself or die. He tries to use the radio without success. He knows that if he hits the trees, he can die, so he decides to land in the water of a lake. When the plane is in the water, he gets out through a window. He lay on the bank of the lake for a while to rest. Brian knew he needed food and shelter to survive so he set out to find both. He was very careful not to get lost or go too far from the lake where his water was. He found a cherry tree and because he was very hungry, he ate his fill. He filled his windbreaker with cherries to eat later and then managed to find a cave for shelter. He slept very well, but in the morning when he awoke, he saw a bear in the cave. He was terrified, because the bear was only about 20 feet away eating his cherries out of his windbreaker. The bear only looked at Brian and then left. The cherries must have been enough to curb his appetite! The discovery of how to make a fire was very important to Brains survival. He needed to have one at the mouth of the cave to protect him from wild animals, and to signal for help. He discovered it by mistake when a porcupine wandered into his cave! It was dark in the cave and he heard something moving. He knew it was alive, but not what it was. He kicked it. It was then, when the quills shot into his foot that he knew it was a porcupine. He was in pain, and knew he could not touch it. He threw his hatchet, and when it hit the rock of the cave instead of the porcupine, it made a spark. He knew how to make the spark, now all he had to do was find the fuel. He knew he needed some type of meat to survive, so he decided to catch fish. First he tried to catch them with his hands, but he soon knew he needed a better plan. He made a primitive bow and arrow. He was very proud of himself when he was able to use it to catch fish, or shoot a bird. He would scoured them and cook them over his fire. He was becoming better all the time at survival. One day a tornado went through the area. The tornado turned out to be a revelation. It moved the plane so that the tail was now sticking out of the water. It was then that Brian remembered that the plane contained a survival pack. It was very difficult to get to, and it took a long time. He almost lost his hatchet while trying to cut a hole in the plane, but he was able to retrieve it. When he finally got back on dry land, he found that the pack contained food, knife, rifle, and C. B. radio. He tried to use the radio, but he did not think it was working. He found out that