Hatchet is a young-adult coming-of-age novel. It is also an adventure novel and a survival story.


The narrator is anonymous and speaks from a time after the events of the novel take place.

Point of View

Hatchet 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.


The tone of the novel can be described as urgent. There is also a youthful quality to the novel’s tone owing to the protagonist’s age.


The story told in Hatchet is conveyed in the past tense.


The author does not explicitly specify the time in which the novel takes place, but it is presumed to be the 1980s, around the time the novel was published. It is primarily set in the Hampton, New York; the Canadian north woods, but there also some parts set in Hampton, New York, and New York City.


Examples of foreshadowing in the novel include the pilot’s pains early in the flight, Brian’s flying lesson, and Brian’s fear of seeing the dead pilot’s head.

Major Conflict

The protagonist, 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


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 as well as Brian’s loss of expectations that he will be rescued.