Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog


Gary Paulsen

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title · Hatchet

author · Gary Paulsen

type of work · Novel

genre · Coming-of-age novel; young adult novel; adventure novel; survival story

language · English

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

tense · Past

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