What is the significance of Brian thinking about Perpich?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited.  Perpich is significant because he helps to provide some of the earliest examples to Brian about the need to demonstrate mental toughness in a trying situation.  Perpich was Brian's English teacher.  One of his lessons to Brian was the need to affirm positive thoughts and beliefs in trying situations:  "a guy named Perpich, who was always talking about...thinking positive, staying on top of things."

It is here where Perpich's significance is evident.  Brian begins to channel these thoughts of positive affirmation.  In "thinking positive," Brian begins to realize that the only way out of his harrowing situation rests with his own mental strength and fortitude that can guide him through the challenging times.  As he continues to try to take active steps towards this level of positive thought, he recalls Perpich's words about self- reliance:  "You are your most valuable asset....You are the best thing that you have."  Perpich's significance is demonstrated when Brian takes those words to heart and starts to construct his cave dwelling in a manner where he can live there in a protected environment.  At the same time, Perpich's words motivate Brian enough to go out in the forest and find a food source.  When Brian recognizes that Perpich is right in that he is all that he has, the English teacher's significance as a source of motivation is understood.