What do you think Brian means when he tells himself that self-pity doesn't work?

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Brian simply means that feeling sorry for himself isn't going to get him out of his current predicament. He's in a desperate situation, having just crash-landed in the middle of a forest. This would be a scary situation for most adults, let alone a teenage boy with absolutely no experience...

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Brian simply means that feeling sorry for himself isn't going to get him out of his current predicament. He's in a desperate situation, having just crash-landed in the middle of a forest. This would be a scary situation for most adults, let alone a teenage boy with absolutely no experience of surviving out in the wilderness.

Brian's natural reaction, like most people, is to lament his fate, but self-pity quickly turns to resolve. Brian doesn't have time to sit around feeling sorry for himself; he's got to think of the practicalities involved in living off the land. That means finding food, shelter, a regular supply of fresh water, and so on. Self-pity may be the natural reaction to someone in Brian's situation, but it won't do anything to help him survive or to help him overcome the enormous challenges ahead.

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Brian is stranded in the wilderness.  He is alone, scared, no supplies except for his hatchet that his mother gave him.  The pilot died in flight and the plane crashes in the lake.  Brian has every right to feel sorry for himself, but he realizes that self-pity won't feed him, keep him warm, or get him out of the situation he is in.  He tries to stay focused on what needs to be done and he problem solves by thinking things through.  If he just sits around and feels sorry for himself he will die.  He doesn't give in and he doesn't give up.

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