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Hatchet - 2

Hatchet - 3 









Pre-Reading Question:

What does survival mean to you?  Do you think that people may have a different perspective on the meaning of survival?  Explain.




Writing Activity:


 As Brian is learning to survive in the wilderness, he often has memories (flashbacks) of his earlier life. 


Pretend you are Brian, and write three journal entries reminiscing about what you miss most about life before the plane crash.




Hatchet Survival Guide Project: 




Survival Guide Rubric


ü Creative Cover (20 pts) _____

ü 10 Pages/ 10 Survival Tips (20 pts) _____

ü 10 Pictures relating to survival tips (20 pts) _____

ü Neatness/Effort/Creativity (20 pts) _____

ü Survival Tips come from novel (20 pts) _____


Review - Study Guide




Items for Survival Group Activity


In this segment of the book, Brian takes inventory of everything he has, hoping to find some article that will be useful to him in his struggle for survival.  Most of us, in a similar situation, would find that the commonplace articles that we always have with us would be of little use.

In groups, discuss the items that you would most like to have with you if you were stranded in the Canadian north woods.  List them below. 


These are the requirements:



- All items should be small enough to fit in your pockets.

- You are limited to a maximum of seven items.

- You many not include any communications devices in your list.

- You should remember that you will need tools to help you to survive for a long period of time, rather than temporary items such as food.






Survival Items









When you are finished, prepare a short oral or written presentation for the class, explaining the reasons for your choices.

Remember, the idea is to survive!




What Would Peter Do?


What Would Peter Do?

Posted on March 12th, 2012 by Peter in How To..., Survival Psychology, Tips

I judged his age to be about twenty-eight or nine as he entered the room and approached me at the conclusion of one of my seminars in Portland, Oregon some years ago. The attendees had left the room  and I thought it a bit odd that someone would come in after all of the seminars were over for the day.  “Can I help you?”  I asked.  “No” he answered, “You already have!”   It turns out that, the previous hunting season he had driven up into the Cascade Mountains east of Portland, Oregon to spend the afternoon hunting elk.  Or in his own words “I was just going out to see if I could shoot an elk!”  And in that short statement is the nucleus of what could have become a disaster.

Finding a likely place to begin the hunt he parked his truck on a forest service road, grabbed his rifle (and little else after all he was “just” going out for a short afternoon hunt) and started up the hill.  The higher up the hill he climbed the deeper the snow became until he found himself walking in the ankle-deep snow.  Cresting the ridge he found fresh elk tracks in the snow.  Excited now at the possibility of actually killing an elk he overlooked the trap that was being set:

1. The weather as he left Portland on the drive into the Cascades was mild – he wouldn’t need much clothing.  Since it was only going to be a short hunt and he would be home that night he didn’t need to take a lot of gear.

2. No one was available to go with him

3. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going.

4. He’d been in the area many times before.

5. The vision of a freezer full of fresh elk meat overshadowed any thoughts he might have had of a looming crisis.

He followed the tracks as they wandered through the timber ever watchful for a glimpse of an elk ahead.  The snow deepened and before long he wading through knee-deep snow.  At one point, paying more attention to the tracks than his footing, he tripped over a log buried in the snow and did a spectacular face-plant!  Uninjured he got up, brushed himself off, cleaned his rifle scope, checked the barrel for any blockage and continued on.  It was shortly after the tripping incident that it began to snow again.  He continued on a bit longer but soon realized that he wasn’t dressed for the conditions he now faced. It was time to get back to the truck. It was at this moment that he first also realized that he didn’t know where he was!  Or more accurately, he didn’t know which direction to go to get back to his truck!  Reaching into his pocket for one of the few pieces of equipment that he did bring he was horrified to find that his GPS receiver was gone!  It must have fallen out when he tripped over the log.   His immediate thought was to retrace his steps to the log but soon found the now heavily falling snow had covered his tracks.  With rising apprehension he turned in the direction his instincts told him was the way to his truck and began the walk.  It wasn’t long before “walking” turned into “walking faster.”   And then “walking fast” turned into “running.”  And then “running” turned into “running faster” in his attempt to get back to the safety of his truck.  Terrified panic!  Panic brought on by the recognition that he wasn’t prepared to spend the night out; no one knew here he was; he didn’t know how to get back to his truck.  Panic brought on by the knowledge that he might die!

His mad dash through the falling snow was suddenly interrupted with a flashback to a meeting that had taken place earlier that year when he had sat and listened to a speaker talk about “Being lost and what to do about it.”  Stopping his panic-stricken run he asked himself “What would Peter do now?”  He thought back on the advice he’d been given.  “Get off of your feet and sit down.  You can’t walk when you’re sitting on your butt – and that’s good!  He found a log and sat down.  “OK. What’s next?   Have a drink of water.  It will calm you down!”  He had a canteen of water with him and drank deeply.  “Stay there for at least thirty minutes!  It takes at least thirty minutes, for the adrenaline and cortisone that put into a flight or fight mode, to flush out of your system.  During this time you are just reacting – not thinking!   Once your fears have subsided and your head clears you’ll be able to make better decisions regarding your situation.”   He sat for thirty minutes drinking periodically from his water bottle.  Thirty minutes later his head had cleared and he began to reconstruct what had happened.  How far had he actually traveled?  What could he remember about the terrain features he had encountered as he tracked the elk?  What other landmarks did he remember?  It slowly came back to him and he drew a map in the snow based on his recollections and realized, in his flight through the forest, he had been running away from his truck not towards it!  Having reoriented himself he headed off in the direction of the road knowing that it was unlikely that he would actually find the truck but he would find the road it was parked on.

An hour or so passed before he climbed up a low hill and there before him was the road.  Looking first left and not seeing his vehicle he looked right and there in the distance he saw the vehicle and the safety that it offered.  He said,  “You can only image what I felt like!”   My response was “I don’t have to imagine.  I’ve been in similar situations myself!”

So what can we learn from this adventure?   An adventure that is repeated in various forms all across America every year as men and women hunters venture off into the back-country to work or to recreate.

Number One.  You have to accept the fact that, as good an outdoors-man or women as you may be, sometimes things happen that precipitate you into a crisis when you least expect it and you’d better be ready to cope with, what will be one of the most difficult challenges to your life that you have ever faced.

Number Two.  Never say “I am just……”  Saying “I am just going to….” (You fill in the blank) is a denial of the possibility that anything will go wrong and a denial of the need to carry an emergency kit or protective clothing with you.  After all “what could possibility go wrong?”   A lot can go wrong, it can go wrong quickly and you can die!

Number Three.  Always carry the means to shelter yourself, to start a fire and to attract the attention of people who are looking for you and, perhaps more importantly, people who are not looking for you but might be in your vicinity.  To that end your emergency gear should include a waterproof, windproof shelter that you can crawl into or crawl under.  If you expect to be able to construct a shelter from natural materials as advocated by many outdoor writers you will be sadly disappointed. To build such a shelters take skill, time, resources and an able-bodied person.  Save yourself the trouble – carry a large orange or royal blue plastic bag to crawl into when you need protection.

Carry a metal match and a supply of cotton balls saturated with Vaseline.  This mixture is the most reliable combination of fire starting aids available to you.   Practice building a fire

Carry a whistle and purposefully made glass signal mirror.  You can blow a whistle as long as you can breath.  With a mirror, given that you have sunlight, you can bounce a beam of sunlight to a passing airplane, boat or person on a distant hillside many miles away.

Number Four.  Prepare for the five scenarios that commonly result in a person having to spend a night out:

1. Becoming lost

2. Not making it back to camp or vehicle before the sun sets.

3. Becoming stranded when the vehicle that took you into the back country malfunctions.

4.  Becoming ill or injured to the point that you are unable to make your own way out.

5. When weather makes it dangerous to continue traveling.

In each situation finding the safest campsite possible and then using your emergency equipment and survival skills to defend your body temperature is your best course of action.

Number Five.   Don’t let the concerns of others and what they might be thinking affect your decision-making.  Don’t let the promises or the commitments  you made to others drive you to continue trying to make it back in the face of darkness, rough terrain or inclement weather.  Do what is in your best interest and survive.

Number Six.  Always tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back.  Better still leave a trip plan with two people who you have briefed on what to do in the event you do not return.  Remember that having left a trip plan you are obligated to stick to the plan.  If you fail to leave a trip plan, or don’t update the plan, days may pass before an active search begins in your location.

Number Seven.  Be ready to deal with fear and the panic that usually results when you are confronted with a crisis.  It is ludicrous to say “don’t panic!” Everybody is going to panic.  Even the most experienced outdoorsman or woman will experience a momentary twinge of discomfort when faced with a potentially life threatening situation.  But, unlike the novice, an experienced person will recognize the discomfort for what it is  – a warning that things aren’t right!  A warning to back away and reconsider the situation.  Remember the “get-off-your-feet, have drink of water, stay put for at least thirty minutes” routine described earlier.

Number Eight.  Keep faith.  In yourself and your ability to survive based on your preparations.  Keep faith in the search and rescue system and the ability of the searchers to find you.  Keep faith in your family.  The strongest catalyst you have to keep you going, when everything appears to be against you, is your desire to be reunited with your family and friends.  Carry something to reinforce that desire – a photograph works.

The time is sure to come when you will have spend an unplanned night out. When that times comes it’s not important “what Peter would do” but what is important is “what you will do!”  Your life depends on it!
































Hatchet Characterization (Facebook for Brian)




Types of Characters and Characterization Review


Brian Robeson is a Dynamic Character.

The Brian that we meet in the beginning of the book is a typical 13 year old boy

His parents have just recently divorced, and this conflict between them has deeply affected Brian and his sense of stability.

Brian is a complex and exciting character. Early on, he shows us his fears, frustration, and anger.

As the story progresses, he learns lessons and adopts qualities that are relevant not only to wilderness survival, but also to life as a whole.


Today, we will take a look at what we know about the Brian in the beginning of the book - before the plane crash in the Canadian Wilderness.  We will also examine how his character is changing, both mentally and physically.

Using your book, take a look at how the author develops Brian's character and how he has changed during his experiences in the wilderness so far. 


Ask yourself these questions when trying to understand characterization:

What does the character look like?
How does the character behave towards others? How do others behave toward the character?
What does the character seem to care about?
What adjectives does the author use to describe the character's personality?
What does the character think or say?


What character traits does Brian have?

List of Character Traits


Now that you've taken a closer look at Brian's character, what do you think his Facebook page would look like?

How might his Facebook posts and photos change as Brian changes in the book?  What other parts of his Facebook might reflect the change he is experiencing?



Today, you will create a Facebook page for Brian.

When you are finished, save it to your "Hatchet" folder in your H-drive and on your desktop.

Here is the template you will use.

Facebook Template

  Simply edit the sample information and fill it in with your information about Brian.


At least 3 status updates

At least 3 friends' responses to his status posts

5 pictures that show his experiences in the wilderness.


Use the following websites to find pictures for your Facebook page.











One technique we use to become better readers and writers is using imagery/visualization. 

By creating a picture our mind we have a much better chance of remember what we read and relating the story to what we know in our own lives. 

Imagining what we are seeing also provides us with the opportunity to choose vivid words to paint a picture for our audience as we write. 





Example 1

Hatchet Page 1.


Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406 - a bushplane - and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.


Now imagine if Gary Paulsen had written the same passage this way:


Brian Robeson stared out the window of the plane. He could not talk over the loud engine.


Which passage above best describes what Brian is seeing? Why is this paragraph best?



Example 2

Hatchet Page 17


Brian had to get the headset from the pilot. Had to reach over and get the headset from the pilot or he would not be able to use the radio to call for help. He had to reach over. . .

     His hands began trembling again. He did not want to touch the pilot, did not want to reach for him. But he had to. Had to get the radio. He lifted his hands from the wheel, just slightly, and held them waiting to see what would happen. The plane flew on normally, smoothly.

     All right, he thought. Now. Now to do this thing. He turned and reached for the headset, slid it from the pilot's head, one eye on the plane, waiting for it to dive. The headset came easily, but the microphone switch at the pilot's belt was jammed in and he had to pull to get it loose. When he pulled, his elbow bumped the wheel and pushed it in and the plane started down in a shallow dive. Brian grabbed the wheel and pulled it back, too hard again, and the plane went through another series of stomach-wrenching swoops up and down before he could get it under control.

     When things had settled again he pulled at the mike cord once more and at last jerked the cord free.


Do you feel as if you are in the airplane with Brian watching him as he struggled to free the headset?


This is called imagery. Imagery is when an author uses words or phrases that can be felt by the five senses.

By using imagery, the reader feels as if they are experiencing the same event as the character.


Example 3

 Hatchet Page 28.

     There was a great wrenching as the wings caught the pines at the side of the clearing and broke back, ripping back just outside the main braces. Dust and dirt blew off the floor into his face so hard he thought there must have been some kind of explosion. He was momentarily blinded and slammed forward in the seat, smashing his head on the wheel.

     Then a wild crashing sound, ripping of metal, and the plane rolled to the right and blew through the trees, out over the water and down, down to slam into the lake, skip once on water as hard as concrete, water that tore the windshield out and shattered the side windows, water that drove him back into the seat. Somebody was screaming, screaming as the plane drove down into the water. Someone screamed tight animal screams of fear and pain and he did not know that it was his sound, that he roared against the water that took him and the plane still deeper, down into the water. He saw nothing but sensed blue, cold blue-green, and he raked at the seatbelt catch, tore his nails loose on one hand. He ripped at it until it released and somehow - the water trying to kill him, to end him - somehow he pulled himself out of the shattered front window and clawed up into the blue, felt something hold him back, felt his windbreaker tear and he was free. Tearing free. Ripping free.


What if Gary Paulsen simply said:

The plane crashed into the lake. Brian managed to get free.


Activity 1


Reread the passage describing Brian's plane crash from Hatchet. Look at each each word or phrase from the passage and write it into the chart below. 


     There was a great wrenching as the wings caught the pines at the side of the clearing and broke back, ripping back just outside the main braces. Dust and dirt blew off the floor into his face so hard he thought there must have been some kind of explosion. He was momentarily blinded and slammed forward in the seat, smashing his head on the wheel.

     Then a wild crashing soundripping of metal, and the plane rolled to the right and blew through the trees, out over the water and down, down to slam into the lake, skip once on water as hard as concrete, water that tore the windshield out and shattered the side windows, water that drove him back into the seat. Somebody was screaming, screaming as the plane drove down into the water. Someone screamed tight animal screams of fear and pain and he did not know that it was his sound, that he roared against the water that took him and the plane still deeper, down into the water. He saw nothing but sensed blue, cold blue-green, and he raked at the seatbelt catch, tore his nails loose on one hand. He ripped at it until it released and somehow - the water trying to kill him, to end him - somehow he pulled himself out of the shattered front window and clawed up into the blue, felt something hold him back, felt his windbreaker tear and he was free. Tearing free. Ripping free.

But so far! So far to the surface and his lungs could not do this thing, could not hold and were through, and he sucked water, took a great pull of water that would - finally - win, finally take him, and his head broke into light and he vomited and swam, pulling without knowing what he was, what he was doing. Without knowing anything. Pulling until his hands caught at weeds and muck, pulling and screaming until his hands caught at last in grass and brush and he felt his chest on land, felt his face in the coarse blades of grass and he stopped, everything stopped. A color came that he had never seen before, a color that exploded in his mind with the pain and he was gone, gone from it all, spiraling out into the world, spiraling out into nothing.










momentarily blinded

dust and dirt blew



great wrenching


































Hatchet Imagery Activity

Complete the Imagery Chart Using one of the following photographs

Imagery Pic 1

Imagery Pic 2

Imagery Pic 3

Imagery Pic 4

Imagery Pic 5

Imagery Pic 6

Imagery Pic 7

Imagery Pic 8



Literature response writing questions for Hatchet





Brian handles the plane crash in a very mature way.

Describe a time when you dealt with a crisis in your life.  Were you as calm and collected as Brian?





Why do you think Gary Paulsen chose to have Brian be alone for the crash? 

How might the story be different if Brian had someone with him?

















Flashbacks Hatchet




A Flashback is a literary device in which the author inserts a previous event into the current event or scene in the story.  It is used to give the reader a better understanding of the character's behavior or motivation in the present.  A flashback may take place as a dream or as a memory.  Paulsen uses several instances of flashback throughout the novel to explain the Secret and Brian's upset about his parents' divorce.  He also uses flashback to show how Brian used his prior knowledge to think of ways to survive in the wilderness.


Here is a video clip that explains how an author uses flashbacks




As a quick review of the chapters we have already read, we are going to identify the parts of our story that are flashbacks.  During our reading of the rest of the novel, we will be adding the examples of Paulsen's use of feedback.  Open this document and then save it in your Hatchet folder in your H:drive and on your desktop.

Flashback Chart.doc

(Also as doc on my Google Classroom)



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