It was a strange feeling, holding the rifle. It somehow removed him from everything around him. Without the rifle he had to fit in, to be part of it all, to understand it and use it—the woods, all of it. With the rifle, suddenly, he didn't have to know; did not have to get close to a foolbird to kill it—didn't have to know how it would stand if he didn't look at it and moved off to the side.

In Chapter 19 Brian finds the rifle in the plane's survival pack. Surprised by its presence, Brian finds that it seems out of place in the natural environment. Although his life in the wilderness presented many challenges, and daily life presented complications he had not even considered before landing in the woods, he found that self-sufficiency contained a certain appeal and nobility that the rifle negated. The rifle also represents an intrusion of technology onto nature. While Brian had used simple tools such as a bow and arrow and a fish spear to survive in the woods, the rifle was a far more sophisticated piece of weaponry. It indeed had the potential to make his hunting faster and easier, but this benefit did not appeal to Brian. His rejection of the rifle demonstrates that his experience in the woods has completely altered his lifestyle.