What kind of onomatopoeia is in Hatchet?

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Onomatopoeia is used throughout Hatchet. Onomatopoeia is the use of a word that imitates the natural sounds of something. It's a really neat tool because it creates a sound effect that attempts to mimic the thing being described. This will often make the description more expressive and/or interesting. It's also an effective tool to use with young readers because it very effectively makes a description easier to understand. Additionally, it draws readers in because it attempts to target a sense other than vision. Paulsen was likely very intentional about frequently using this literary device because of his young reading audience. Additionally, his protagonist is in a situation in which listening to things is just as advantageous as seeing environmental factors. The following is a good example from the end of Chapter 4. Notice the "hisses" and "blurks."

Here, at first, it was silent, or he thought it was silent, but when he started to listen, really listen, he heard thousands of things. Hisses and blurks, small sounds, birds singing, hum of insects, splashes from the fish jumping—there was great noise here, but a noise he did not know, and the colors were new to him, and the colors and noise mixed in his mind to make a green—blue blur that he could hear, hear as a hissing pulse-sound and he was still tired.

Then readers hear the "buzzing" insects in Chapter 5.

Then the bird started again, and some kind of buzzing insect, and then a chattering and a cawing, and soon there was the same background of sound.

Brian will eventually become good at hearing the slithering and brushing noises that could endanger him.

Then he heard the slithering. A brushing sound, a slithering brushing sound near his feet—and he kicked out as hard as he could . . .

Chapter 10 has a good water sound with the word "sloshing."

Whatever it was it stopped making that sound in a few moments and he thought he heard something sloshing into the water at the shoreline . . .

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An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the natural sounds of a thing. Essentially, it is a sound effect that mimics the thing it is describing and creates imagery in the text. An example of an onomatopoeia in the novel Hatchet takes place in chapter 2 when Brian attempts to use the CB radio shortly after the pilot dies of a heart attack. Paulsen writes,

For a second all he heard was the whusssh of the empty airwaves. (8)

The onomatopoeia is the sound "whusssh" that Brian hears over the airwaves. Other examples of onomatopoeias take place in chapter 4. Following the plane crash, Brian is overcome by thousands of mosquitoes and black flies. Paulsen utilizes an onomatopoeia by writing,

But as soon as he cleared a place, as soon as he killed them, more came, thick, whining, buzzing masses of them. (15)

The words "whining" and "buzzing" are considered onomatopoeias because they mimic the specific sounds of the mosquitoes and black flies that are flying around Brian's head.

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