What science lessons does Brian recall in Hatchet?

Quick answer:

Brian remembers science lessons that help him start a fire, catch a fish (by aiming properly in the water), and calculate the lake's depth.

Expert Answers

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In Gary Paulson's Hatchet, Brian Robeson finds himself stranded in the wilderness after the plane in which he is traveling goes down following the pilot's death from a heart attack. Brian must do his best to survive through his resourcefulness, creativity, and perseverance.

As Brian is attempting to make a fire, he recalls his science classes. He reviews what he has learned about fire. He has fuel. There is plenty of air. He can make sparks. But he also remembers that he has to blow on those sparks to help them connect with the fuel. The first time he tries, he blows too hard. The second time, he makes his breath more gentle, and he succeeds in starting a fire, much to his delight. He now has to keep the fire going, feeding it carefully so it does not go out.

Brian also recalls a science lesson when he is trying to catch fish. He is using a bow and arrow, and he can't seem to hit a fish no matter how hard he tries. Then, he remembers that water refracts or bends light. This makes the fish appear to be in a different position than they actually are. They are beneath where he has been aiming, and he needs to aim lower. With this knowledge, Brian manages to catch a fish.

Finally, Brian uses what he has learned to estimate the depth of the lake as he plans to dive down to retrieve his hatchet. He observes the position and angle of the plane in order to judge the depth, and he is thus able to dive correctly to get his tool.

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