What does Brian need to survive? 

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estoverl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of Paulsen's novel Hatchet, refers to an actual hatchet that Brian received as a gift from his mother. The hatchet comes to symbolize several things in the novel but it primarily symbolizes survival and becomes an important tool Brian uses to survive after the plane he is in crashes. The hatchet is worth mentioning as one of the items Brian needs to survive because of its importance in the story.

In addition, Brian must acquire other items to survive. The plot of the novel  revolves in part around the acquisition of certain survival items that Brian needs. Brian often uses the hatchet to help him get the other items that he needs to survive. These items include shelter, food, water and fire.

Along with these physical items, Brian also realizes that some other types of items are needed for survival. After several bouts of emotional crying, Brian realizes that he must remain positive and not waste energy on crying. When attempting to make fire, Brian must attempt the task over and over while making slight changes to his method. Through that experiment, Brian learns that perseverance will also help him to survive.