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I would think that there is much in the way of discussion of such a question. Much of the answer to this is dependent on what you, the reader, would deem as important. In examining the structure and outline of the text and its ideas, ask yourself what elements possessed meaning and which did not. I would say that the divorce of Brian's parents and "the secret" would be vitally important because Brian has to travel because of it. If his parents had not been divorced, Brian doesn't travel. Having the hatchet on his belt would be another important event, as the hatchet is not only the title, but the impetus for so much in his survival. The pilot teaching Brian how to fly the plane helps him live through the ordeal and land it in the forest. The fact that the plane goes down in the lake would be something else really important because it allowed him to live through the landing. Finding food sources were also important such as berries, fool birds, fish, as well as other sources of sustenance. I would say that the finding of the cave as a shelter was also important and the throwing of the hatchet against the cave walls, whose sparks helped Brian develop fire are two very important events. The reflection about Mr. Perpich's belief of "taking things one thing at a time," helps Brian focus on incremental steps towards his success. More can be found, and much of this acquisition depends on what you deem as essential or important.
As the first poster touched upon, the importance of a particular event in the overall plot is subjective, and up to an individual's point of view. This would be influenced by your cultural and personal background, as well as other reading you have done. But here are my top ten!
1--Brian thinks he knows the reason behind his parents' recent divorce, but he has seen what he wasn't supposed to see -- his mother and a strange man kissing. This is a great burden on him.
2--Brian goes to visit his father in northern Canada. Just before he leaves in a small plane, Brian gets a present from his mother - a hatchet with a leather holder. He takes it from her and she makes him wear it in his belt. He does not know that this hatchet will be so important later.
3-- Over the Canadian wilderness, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian takes over and pilots the plane for as long as possible.
4-- The plane runs out of gas and Brian slowly realizes he is stranded in the Canadian wilderness, where he will be for the next 54 days.
5--Brian decides to think positive and calmly takes stock of what he has. He builds a shelter and finds berries to eat, but they make him sick. Then he finds better berries. He is now somewhat acclimated to life in the wild.
6--The porcupine attack hurts Brian badly, but he learns by accident that the hatchet will make sparks and a fire. He makes his first fire. He spends a lot of time gathering wood and working to better his situation.
7--Brian catches his first fish and misses the search and rescue plane. He knows that he might be out there for a long time, but also that he can survive longer because he will have fish to eat.
8--Brian learns to spear birds and has his First Meat, but the moose and tornado destroy some of his hard work and he has to rebuild. It is like he takes one step forward and two steps back.
9--Brian gets the survival bag out of the sunken plane. This takes a lot of courage (the dead pilot is down there still) and craftsmanship (it is hard to get out there and Brian has to construct a raft from trees).
10--Brian is found just after he discovers the contents of the survival bag, and he returns to civilization. He has a new perspective on his parents' divorce and vows to keep the knowledge of his mother and the other man a secret.
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