What is a word to describe how Brian felt when he realizes the hatchet can make sparks?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most powerful dynamics in the story is how disappointment and exhilaration go together.  Brian is shown to be a character who is, on one hand, faced with frustration at nearly every turn.  Yet, this is also countered with some type of discovery.  This dialectic is what allows the novel to represent his own survival and also shows how the theme of the novel is evident in its very structure.  When Brian throws the hatchet, he is angry at the porcupine and in a great deal of pain.  There is a moment of revelation or recognition when he sees the sparks emerge from it.  He is exhilarated and taken aback at his "good fortune" and at what emerged from this.  I think that another word that can be used is "wonderment."  Brian begins to wonder about what can be done with these small sparks and from this, he develops the ability and endures the trial to harness fire as something more than a source of food and warmth.  He looks at it as a "companion."  This moment is brought about by the sense of wonderment that Brian develops once he sees the sparks.

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