Brian’s English teacher always told him to stay positive and get motivated.
When Brian’s plane crashes, the pilot dies and leaves him stranded alone in the Canadian wilderness. He remembers the advice that one of his teachers gave him.
Brian had once had an English teacher, a guy named Perpich, who was always talking about being positive, thinking positive, staying on top of things. … All Perpich would say is that I have to get motivated. He was always telling kids to get motivated. (Ch. 5)
It is very hard to stay positive in a situation like this, but Brian does his best to stay motivated. He realizes that he only has himself, and there is no one there to help him.
Brian has a hatchet, and not much else. He has his clothes and his shoes. He thinks about his teacher and feels like he would trade all of it for a hamburger. His biggest concern is that he is hungry.
He frowned. No, wait—if he was going to play the game, might as well play it right. Perpich would tell him to quit messing around. Get motivated. Look at all of it, Robeson. (Ch. 5)
It is only natural to be scared and feel hopeless in Brian’s state. He is all alone and desperate for food and shelter. His other concern is to signal any planes that might come by searching for him. He does this by building a smoky fire.
I suppose teachers never really know how they are going to be able to influence their students. In a time of trouble, Brian uses the guidance of his English teacher to help him stay focused and motivated. The advice to stay positive and motivated might be common, but a teacher who shows his students that he cares will be able to make a difference.