In Hatchet, compare Brian's reaction to the porcupine attack with his reaction to the moose.

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In Hatchet, Brian grows tremendously during his time in the wilderness as he learns to survive on his own. We can see this by comparing Brian's reaction to the porcupine incident and his reaction to the moose attack and the tornado.

When a porcupine attacks Brian and shoots quills into his leg, Brian collapses in a fit of crying. He doesn't think he will survive at this point, and he's not even sure he wants to survive. He is thoroughly miserable. But after he cries himself out, he realizes that feeling sorry for himself will help nothing. He just has to go on.

And Brian does go on, meeting challenge after challenge and getting better and better at coping with them. When he is attacked by a moose that throws him into the water, he climbs out, picks up his tools, and goes back to his shelter. He has learned to manage his pain and continue to do what needs to be done. That same night, a tornado roars through, destroying Brian's shelter and putting out the fire. Brian is not devastated like he was with the porcupine. Rather, he simply decides that he will rebuild, even as he swats the dozens of mosquitoes swarming around him.

In fact, Brian grits his teeth, looks out into the darkness, and throws up a challenge: “Is that the best you can do? Is that all you can hit me with—a moose and a tornado?” Brian then smiles, realizing the change in himself. He no longer feels like crying. He is “tough in the head,” and that is what will bring him through this ordeal.

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