Brian undergoes a period of disbelief when he awakes after the crash. The reality of the plane crash and of his presence in the middle of a harsh wilderness leaves him dumbfounded and overwhelmed. Finding few elements of certainty, he feels the need to establish those few facts of which he remains certain. He thinks, "My name is Brian Robeson and I am thirteen years old and I am alone in the north woods of Canada." These simple statements provide some reassurance to Brian at a time when he has no idea what action to take or what kind of hope to hold out for his rescue.

In these chapters Paulsen begins to employ with some regularity a certain stylistic nuance that persists throughout the book. That is, combining words that do not customarily go together and connecting them with hyphens. Such words include "hot-hate," "all-over pain," and "stagger-tripped." This unique technique provides the author with an opportunity to enhance his descriptive language.