full title Hatchet
author Gary Paulsen
type of work Novel
genre Coming-of-age novel; young adult novel; adventure novel; survival story
time and place written United States, 1980s
date of first publication 1987
publisher Delacorte Books
narrator Anonymous, speaking from a point after the events of the novel take place
point of view This novel is narrated in the third person; however, the narrator conveys all of Brian Robeson's thoughts and feelings through the account of the events in the novel.
tone Urgent, young
setting (time) The author does not explicitly specify the time in which the novel takes place, but it is presumed to be the 1980s.
setting (place) Hampton, New York; the Canadian north woods; New York City
protagonist Brian Robeson
major conflict Brian Robeson must find a way to survive alone in the woods after his plane crashes, to come to terms with his parents' divorce, and to affirm his manhood.
rising action Brian's knowledge of "The Secret," Brian's successful landing of the plane, Brian's suicide attempt
climax When Brian becomes the "new Brian" after his suicide attempt when the plane flies overhead without noticing him.
falling action Brian's increased comfort with his life in the wilderness; Brian's loss of expectations that he will be rescued
themes Man versus nature; the power of the positive thinking; initiation into manhood; the contrasts between urban and wilderness environments
motifs Rationality versus emotion; past versus present; dreams versus reality
symbols The hatchet; the plane; the rifle
foreshadowing The pilot's pains early in the flight; Brian's flying lesson; Brian's fear of seeing the dead pilot's head