What Is a Synopsis of the Book "Hatchet"?


Quick Answer

The book "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen is a about 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who becomes stranded in the wilderness following a plane crash. While Brian travels in a small plane to visit his father in Canada, the pilot has a heart attack in midair, leaving Brian alone with only a hatchet.

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Full Answer

His parents' recent divorce and the knowledge of his mother's affair occupy Brian's mind while he travels from his mother's home in New York to his father's home in the northern Canadian forest. The pilot lets Brian fly the plane briefly during the journey, giving him a short flying lesson. After a heart attack kills the pilot, Brian takes control of the plane and crashes into a lake in the middle of the woods. He escapes the plane mostly uninjured and swims to shore, his only possession a hatchet his mother gave him before he left.

Brian builds a shelter and gathers berries, which make him sick. He encounters animals that injure him while he hunts and gathers, waiting for rescuers to arrive. After a tornado strikes and destroys his shelter, he sees that the storm caused the plane wreckage to rise to the surface of the lake.

Brian manages to get to the plane, where he finds a survival kit that contains rations and an emergency transmitter. After he fiddles with the dials on the apparently non-functioning transmitter, he prepares some of the freeze-dried food in the survival kit. Soon after, a plane lands in the lake to rescue Brian, responding to the signal sent out by the transmitter.

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