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I think that there is a fundamental difference between Brian and the adults with whom he interacts. Paulsen's work sets up Brian's survival situation in the wilderness as part of a maturation development in his own life. To this extent, his time in the wilderness allows Brian the opportunity to reflect and ruminate upon the impact that these adults had in his life. For example, he thinks about his mother and "the secret" often in his time in the wild. It is what caused him to get on the plane because of the custody arrangement. Not only does Brian have to battle the wild, but he must also deal with the lack of understanding surrounding "the secret" as well as the notion of divorce. In the same way there is confusion surrounding this, there is also confusion around the death of the pilot, what it meant and how he wound up where he was. It is in this light where Brian fundamentally differs from the adults in his life. He seeks to better understand them and his own perception of them in his time in the wilderness.
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