Hatchet Questions and Answers
by Gary Paulsen

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When Brian finds the rifle in the survival pack, how does it make him feel?

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In chapter 19, Brian looks through the survival pack and marvels at the "unbelievable riches" it contains. Brian discovers that the survival pack contains preserved foods, sleeping materials, cooking supplies, matches, lighters, and even a fishing kit. Brian then finds a disassembled .22 rifle and proceeds to put it together. Once Brian finishes assembling the rifle, he is overcome with a strange feeling of apprehension as he holds the rifle. Brian feels as if the rifle creates distance between himself and the natural environment. After living so long in the wilderness without a gun, Brian has become one with the natural environment, and there is a balance in his life. He has been forced to truly understand nature and animals in order to survive.

Although the rifle makes Brian more powerful, it also alters the balanced scale between himself and the natural world. Brian understands that the rifle allows him to not understand his surrounding environment, which is an uncomfortable, unsettling feeling. Brian recognizes that the rifle gives him the ability to distance himself from animals and allows him the opportunity to not fully understand nature the way he was forced to without the survival gear. Although the rifle is slightly unsettling to Brian, he appreciates it, as well as the other items in the survival pack.

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