What does Brian's fish spear look like in Hatchet?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Brian makes a two-pronged spear for fishing by whittling it out of willow wood.

When the small plane Brian is flying in crashes into the Canadian wilderness, Brian is on his own.  He realizes that one of the first things he is going to need to do is find some...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Brian makes a two-pronged spear for fishing by whittling it out of willow wood.

When the small plane Brian is flying in crashes into the Canadian wilderness, Brian is on his own.  He realizes that one of the first things he is going to need to do is find some food.  He has nothing with him and almost no survival tools, except for a hatchet.

Brian decides to make himself a spear for fishing.  He has “no hooks or string” so a spear is the best he can do.

He would have to find the right kind of wood, slim and straight—he had seen some willows up along the lake that might work—and he could use the hatchet to sharpen it and shape it while he was sitting by the fire tonight. (Ch. 11)

Brian makes a staff out of the willow wood by peeling the bark off.  The result is a “straight staff about six feet long and just under an inch thick at the base, the thickest end.”  He uses the hatchet and a rock wall to refine the end of the spear “until the thick end tapered down to a needle point.”  He then refines the spear to be two-pronged, because he thinks it will be easier to catch a fish.

Unfortunately, the fish spear does not work as well as he thought.  Brian jabs at the water but he is always too slow.  He decides a bow and arrow will work better.  After much trial and error, Brian learns to aim low and is able to catch fish.

Brian's making of the tools recalls early man's attempts to solve problems.  He understands that if he does not succeed at something at first, he has to keep trying something new until he is successful.  Brian is persistent, but his survival depends on it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team