In Hatchet, Brian felt like he was a new person. Where and how did this take place?

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In the novel Hatchet, Brian’s epiphany comes as part of a long process of transformation that has several definite steps. The gradual change in his type of self-awareness from self-pity to pride begins after he admits that the pilot is dead, the plane is useless, and that he is truly alone. One important moment occurs when he glimpses his own reflection while drinking at the lake and chides himself for wasting time with crying (chapter 7). This brief episode of awareness shows Brian’s ability to objectify his situation, an important step in thinking rationally.

Two related steps on the path to transformation occur in regard to his ideas about friendship. Initially, he thinks woefully about being alone and the limited use that the small hatchet will be as a weapon to defend himself in the hostile wilderness. Remembering things he had done with his friend Terry reminds him that back home, he enjoys affection and support. After he throws his hatchet at the porcupine, the next day he recalls the sparks it caused, and he links that concept with his memory of Terry. Together, these metaphorically spark the realization that the hatchet is a tool, not just a weapon (chapters 8 and 9). He no longer feels alone because the hatchet is his “friend,” and he will be able to make fire, which will in turn contribute to his likely survival.

By Chapter 13, after he has considered and rejected suicide, his commitment to rejecting death signals his awareness of his own achievements in surviving. This realization is a turning point that comes as the culmination of his previous moment of recognizing his successes.

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In Hatchet, Brian finds himself alone in the wilderness after a plane crash. He must learn to survive by finding food and shelter while hoping to be rescued. In chapter 13, Brian describes the change that makes him a new person. When he realizes that a rescue plane has come and gone, he experiences a despair so great that he wishes for death. He doesn't eat, he allows the fire to burn out, and he attempts to cut himself with his hatchet. However, when he doesn't die, Brian resolves to "not let death in again." Instead of hoping to be rescued, he becomes determined to survive on his own. He learns from his mistakes, has faith in his abilities, and is full of "tough hope." Brian is alone for fifty-four days before he is rescued.

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Brian's "rebirth" takes place in the woods where he is stranded after his plane crashes. In chapter 13, we learn that it has been forty-two days since he was reborn as the new Brian. The change comes about after Brian learns how to survive in the wilderness on his own, without all the modern comforts of life.

The new Brian is made up of the sum of his experiences in the woods. In the wilderness, Brian learns how to hunt, fish, and collect wild foods for his meals. He also learns how to fashion a bow and arrows from willow branches, how to make fires, and how to make a sturdy shelter that can withstand the elements.

In short, Brian learns how to survive on his own, despite his fears and reservations about his future. Because of his experiences, Brian feels as if he is now a new person.

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