The Story of a Young Boy Stranded in the Canadian Wilderness in Gary Paulsen's "The Hatchet"

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“The Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen tells the story of a young boy who got stranded in the Canadian wilderness, and how he survived. It all started after Brian’s parents got divorced.

That summer Brian went to see his father in the oil fields of the Yukon. That day his mother sent him on a small plane piloted by a friend of his father. Brian took his pocket knife, clothes, and most important a hatchet that his father gave him. After the plane took off, the pilot let Brian fly the plane and showed him how to steer and basically fly.

This all would soon come in handy to save Brian’s life.

Soon they were flying over the Canadian wilderness, when the pilot felt funny and had sharp pains in his side. The pilot thought that it was just bad gas from the lunch he ate.

The pilot soon found out that he was dead wrong. Soon the pilot was having a full blown heart attack.

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The pilot let out a few mayday calls but being in the middle of nowhere the radio wouldn’t pick up any signals. The pilot just hoped that someone had heard his calls.

Brian, being the only other person on the plane, had to try to help the pilot. After he gave him CPR and tried to revive him, Brian gave up. Brian had other problems to deal with, like trying to keep himself alive. Brian, with only the flying experience the pilot gave him, was trying to find a lake to crash land the plane in.

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Luckily, the Yukon is riddled with ponds and lakes.

Finally, he found a lake big enough to put the plane down in. He started his landing into the lake. When he came down he misjudged the landing and was hitting the tops of trees.

Luckily, the mistake was small and he ended up in the lake. Brian got out of the sinking plane and swam to the shore, where he passed out. When he woke up he got his bearings and made himself a lean-to shelter with branches he cut with his hatchet that was still attached to his belt. After he built his shelter he gathered some berries to eat.  After he did all that it was getting late and he was thirsty. Brian went down to the lake and started drinking and drinking and drinking. After he gorged himself on the stagnant water he felt sick. He then proceeded to throw up until he passed out. He woke up in the morning and still feeling sick, he made his way to the lean to and slept for about two or more days straight.

After resting he felt good and ready to go. Brian realized that he had to go swim out to the plane and dive down and get some needed supplies. He then went out and got the needed survival kit. Having limited energy and strength he had to choose what he needed most to survive. After that, he felt hungry and ate some of the berries he had picked. He soon found out that the berries were not edible. Brian once again found out the hard way and got very sick. The next day he went exploring to find fresh water and edible food. He soon found a fresh stream just below the shelter he had made.

He found edible berries to eat on the other end of the lake. He then gathered berries until dark. That night he ate and drank with no consequence. He then fell asleep. He later was awakened by an animal in his lean-to. Brian kicked it and then felt a sharp pain in his leg.

After the animal left, Brian found out he had an encounter with a porcupine. His four legged friend left Brian with a painful souvenir of his visit, a leg full of barbed quills. The next morning he took the quills out and patched himself up and then put a make shift door on his lean to so no more visitors would bother him.

After spending a few more days in the wilderness a plane flew by and caught the attention of Brian. He ran out and waved at the plane and luckily the pilot saw him and radioed for help. Later that day Brian was going home in a helicopter with his mother and father. In the end it all turned out all right and Brian still goes to see his father in the Yukon.

I really liked this story and I would recommend it to anyone. I think Gary Paulsen is an excellent author and I love all the books I have read by him. If I had to say who my favorite author is it would be Gary Paulsen. I think this book was put together very well and the story line behind it is excellent. This is one of the best books I have ever read.

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The Story of a Young Boy Stranded in the Canadian Wilderness in Gary Paulsen's "The Hatchet". (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved from

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