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What is the external conflict and internal conflict in Hatchet?

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kidsteez | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2009 at 12:40 PM via web

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What is the external conflict and internal conflict in Hatchet?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 27, 2009 at 8:26 PM (Answer #1)

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The most apparent notion of external conflict in the work exists between Brian and the wilderness.  The natural elements of weather, predators, and scarcity of resources help to provide the backdrop of natural challenge between both Brian and the outside world.  On a more internal level, Brian is presented as a very complex figure.  There is a level of conflict that exists between Brian and his parents, in particular, his mother and "the secret."  There is a resentment harboring and brewing within Brian at the start of the novel, especially so on the plane before it goes down in the wilderness.  Internally speaking, Brian is also battling with his own sense of self.  Part of him believes he will not make it and this collides with the part of him that believes he must survive.  The development of "tough hope," inspired by Mr. Perpich, helps to feed this conflict.  I would also suggest that the changes Brian undergoes between how he stands at the end of the work (mentally and physically) and how he stood at the start represents another level of conflict or division.

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