In Hatchet, relate the lesson that Brian learned from his former English teacher. How did he apply this lesson to his situation? 

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

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Mr. Perpich is significant to Brian's narrative. In the midst of everything around Brian, Mr. Perpich's words are some of the few elements that provide a level of focus to a situation that lends itself to emotional misguidance: "... a guy named Perpich, who was always talking about...thinking positive, staying on top of things."  Mr. Perpich's primary lesson is about the need to stay focused and directed on the task at hand.  It is a lesson that teaches Brian to tune out some of the other elements that are not going to help him survive.

Brian takes this lesson and applies it to his situation in several ways.  One way is that from Perpich's lesson, Brian recognizes clearly that he has to value what he has.  It is for this reason that he empties out his pockets and begins an inventory of sorts.  Through Perpich's lesson, Brian recognizes the use and value of the hatchet and throughout the story, Brian is always using the hatchet to help him survive.  Brian's mental attitude and toughness are enhanced through Perpich's lesson.  Brian recognizes that panicking and undermining his own resolve will not help him.  To "stay on top of things," Brian must be focused and recognize that each step towards survival is the only way he will find success.  Finally, Brian remembers the most important aspect of Perpich's teaching:  "You are your most valuable asset....You are the best thing that you have."  Brian understands that rescue and safety will not come from an external source.  He must be the source of his restoration.  It is a lesson that guides Brian through his experience in the wilderness.  This understanding is the reason why Brian is able to make a food shelf, find food sources, develop new technology for survival, and survive the ordeal of being in the wild.

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