Typically, Gary Paulsen’s protagonists grow through necessity. How does nature operate as an ally to the characters? A hindrance? As ambivalent?
Even though the protagonists in each story are pitted against incredible odds and must rise above overwhelming adversity, are these adventure stories or something more complex?
In Paulsen’s fiction, family bonds tend to be broken. How does the dissolution of family operate in his stories, and what does it tell a reader about the nature of the family unit?
What does each protagonist gain from his isolation?
Does Brian’s “rebirth” in Hatchet revert him to a feral state or does he learn to civilize nature?
How does the tone of Paulsen’s realism affect a reader’s sympathy toward the main characters?
How does “civilization” pose a threat to the Inuit culture in Dogsong?