In Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, in what ways has Brian changed since the airplane crash?

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Brian changes dramatically over the course of Hatchet. These changes are mostly tied to his emotional growth. When the story begins, Brian is a typical teenage boy. He is full of self-doubt and resentment, mostly due to the difficult divorce his parents are going through. After some time stranded...

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Brian changes dramatically over the course of Hatchet. These changes are mostly tied to his emotional growth. When the story begins, Brian is a typical teenage boy. He is full of self-doubt and resentment, mostly due to the difficult divorce his parents are going through. After some time stranded in the wilderness, Brian is forced to confront his very nature in order to survive. While he had previously been taking a passive role in the events of his life, he quickly learns that he has to depend on his own determination and faculties.

Brian realizes that with nobody to rely on but himself, he needs to begin taking the initiative. This lesson is driven home after the search plane fails to find him. He learns that hopelessness and panic are useless, even dangerous, emotions.

Brian learns to carefully observe his environment and identify dangers. He recognizes patterns and takes stock of all the ways that something can be helpful or hurtful. He finds that he must plan for the future and begins building shelter and storing food. He learns to trust in his reason and not give in to fears and gut-reactions. He also through hard experience to think before he acts. In short, Brian is forced to mature.

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Brian's trials make him a more resilient, independent person who can rely on his own observation and intelligence to survive in a harsh world. While initially an ordinary teenager, his experiences on the island teach him how to survive on his own. He literally faces death time and again, recovering from injury and illness. He knows by the end of the story that the old Brian is dead and a newer, stronger young man has taken the place of the boy he was.

Brian's changes are physical as well. He no longer eats the fatty, indulgent foods of the city and must survive on what he can forage and hunt for in the wild. Thus, he becomes healthier than he was before the plane crash.

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Near the end of Hatchet, Brian reflects on how much he has changed and recalls that "[h]e was not the same now." His most significant change occurs when Brian realizes that a rescue plane has come and gone. At first, Brian is devastated and even wishes for death when the plane leaves. However, he becomes determined to never be the same. He also vows to never "let death in again."

Brian's new determination pushes him to succeed despite setbacks. For example, when his first attempt at creating a bow does not go well, he perseveres and tries a different approach until he finds a solution. He has a new respect for nature and understands the importance of not just food and shelter, but also food storage and more permanent shelter.

Brian's focus also changes. Instead of hoping to be rescued, Brian has new hope in his ability to survive. He begins to have faith in his knowledge and realizes he is "full of tough hope."

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Before Brian crash landed in the middle of the Canadian forest, he was not an experienced outdoorsman. Brian was also not a mentally tough individual nor did he possess the skills necessary to survive in the wilderness. However, Brian gradually develops important skills that allow him to hunt and survive in the Canadian forest. Brian becomes in tune with the natural environment and solemnly recognizes essential elements of the wilderness. He develops the ability to spot foolbirds and catch plenty of fish. Brian learns to differentiate between types of berries that he discovers in the forest, and he also creates various items that help him survive. In addition to Brian's newly developed set of survival skills, he also becomes a mentally tough individual. He conquers his loneliness and self-pity, and he develops a positive outlook despite his many setbacks. Brian goes from being a typical teenager, to an experienced, courageous outdoorsman. 

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Prior to the crash, Brian was really just like the usual teenager. He was dealing with a painful divorce, but he is not particularly strong physically or mentally. At the time of the crash, he feels sorry for himself and is very scared at the prospect of being alone and trying to survive.

But as time goes on and he finds a great inner strength, he begins to mature, thanks to the difficulties he faces and the hard work he does to overcome them. He learns a great deal about how strong he is as he gets sick and hungry and hurt and finds that he can recover from all of it. By the time he finds the survival pack in the plane, he has come to feel that he is the master of his surroundings and has grown very confident in his physical capabilities.

He also matures mentally as he deals with both the challenges of the wilderness and the pain he still feels about the knowledge of "the secret" and the reason for his parents' divorce. His acceptance of his situation and the mental work he does to figure out how to move forward and survive build a great deal of mental strength within him over the course of the story.

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