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What is the setting for Gary Paulsen's The River?

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urban88 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 3, 2011 at 3:13 AM via web

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What is the setting for Gary Paulsen's The River?

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 3, 2011 at 3:39 AM (Answer #1)

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The River, a sequel to Gary Paulsen's best selling novel Hatchet is another story of Brian Robeson's survival in the Canadian wilderness.  Rather than surviving a plane crash in some remote wilderness setting, at the beginning of this story, government officials approach Brian with the idea that he will go back to the wilderness (with a psychologist) and show them how he survived.  This information will then be used for survival training purposes.

The setting, never named specifically, is a specifically chosen, remote wilderness location in "northern Canada" on a lake.  At first, the idea of "survival" seems silly to Brian, who notes that the location does not provide much in the way of a challenge.  There is also a river which flows out of this lake, which becomes the setting for the bulk of the action in the story.  After a lightning emergency, Brian ends up building a raft and floating this river over 100 miles to seek help.

Much like Hatchet, the wilderness setting is key to the development of the plot.  Brian makes mental note of many key details in his surroundings, which of course, is key to his survival.

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