Why was Brian struggling to hold back tears on the plane ride in chapters 1 and 2 of Hatchet?

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lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first two chapters of Gary Paulsen's novel, Hatchet, take place aboard a small plane carrying 13-year-old Brian Robeson to visit his father. Brian is the only passenger on board the Cessna. His parents have recently divorced, and Brian's father works in an oil field, far north in the Canadian wilderness. Brian's tears in chapter one are due to his worry, and thinking about the circumstances surrounding his parents' divorce. Brian knows a "secret"--his mother was having an affair, and Brian does not think his father knows.

Brian has different reasons for his tears in chapter two. These are tears of fear and frustration, as the pilot has suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving Brian alone in a plane he does not know how to fly. When he can't figure out how to call for help on the plane's radio, he understandably cries.

Both of these scenes are of an innocent Brian, who will change greatly over the course of this book as he learns to survive on his own.

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