Why did Brian improve his shelter and protect his food in Hatchet?

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In chapter 14, Brain decides to rebuild his shelter after he learns that it is not sufficient to keep out animals. One night, he awakens to a skunk digging up his stashed turtle eggs. This episode goes badly for him, as he ends up painfully blinded for a few hours...

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In chapter 14, Brain decides to rebuild his shelter after he learns that it is not sufficient to keep out animals. One night, he awakens to a skunk digging up his stashed turtle eggs. This episode goes badly for him, as he ends up painfully blinded for a few hours after getting sprayed by the skunk. It becomes absolutely clear to Brian that he must be able to protect his food, or he will starve.

The next day, Brian tears down his old shelter and spends three days building a better one. He constructs walls of tightly woven branches that he feels should be sufficient to keep out any creatures that are after his food stores. He converts a hollow in the rock above his shelter into a food pantry by constructing a door to cover it. He also creates a little wall in the pond in which he can trap fish to more efficiently catch them as needed.

Food, Brian has realized, is the most important part of survival. The episode with the skunk has taught him that he has to be strategic and think ahead about preserving the food that he has gathered.

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In chapter 14 of Hatchet, Brian learns that there isn't room for mistakes in survival. He wakes in the middle of the night to find a skunk trying to steal the turtle eggs he buried for food. Brian almost smiles when he first sees the skunk but then quickly realizes that he may lose his food supply. After throwing a handful of sand, Brian learns a most unpleasant lesson as the skunk sprays him. In his rush to get to the lake to wash his eyes, he destroys his shelter.

Brian comes to the realization that "food is all," and he needs to take steps to protect whatever food he has. His shelter needs to do more than just protect him from the elements; it needs to provide safety and protection. He proceeds to build a more effective shelter, because he knows that in nature there is a constant competition for food. Brian continues to learn lessons from his predicament, the latest of which is "nothing in nature was lazy."

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