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.