What is the main idea of Hatchet?

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melkoosmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hatchet is a book about a boy, Brian Robeson, who gets stranded in the Canadian wilderness on his way to visit his father. Left alone, Brian has to figure out how to survive. He has no training and no tools except a hatchet his mother gave him just before he left home.

As Brian tries to survive, he fights not only the physical forces around him, but also the emotional problems of loneliness as well as grief and guilt surrounding his parents' recent divorce. As he struggles with his environment, he learns to rely on himself more deeply than he ever has before.


yamaguchit | Student

The main idea in Hatchetis: survival. Surviving in unfamiliar territory, adapting to a new environment, and utilizing the resources that are all around you. 

In the novel, the main character Brian, has his plane crashed. As a result, he is stranded in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness. He has no food, no shelter, nothing except the clothes on him and the hatchet from the plane. Throughout the book, we see a transformation of not only his character, but how he survives. The techniques, wit, and instincts he applies to his survival is what makes this novel so enticing to read. Readers are hooked from the beginning because there is so many great survival techniques Brian uses, that it's really admirable. For instance, the way he developed a spear to catch fish, as well as hunt small animals, is basic to survival. However, the way he goes about doing so, and the process of how he thinks and acts upon these survival ways, is truly the main focus of the novel. 

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