Why does Brian's mother give him a hatchet and what are his feelings about it?

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When Brian's mother gives him the hatchet, she explains that he will be able to use it on his camping trip with his father. Brian doesn't seem to like the gift very much, and he thinks that "it look(s) too hokey to have a hatchet on your belt." However, Brian senses that his mother is upset ("her voice was thin, had a sound like something thin that would break if you touched it"), so he doesn't voice his dislike of the gift, instead quietly attaching it to his belt for her to see. This quietly restrained, sympathetic reaction says a lot about Brian, who at this point is angry with his mother for cheating on his father.

Brian's mother's reaction to seeing the hatchet attached to Brian's belt ("Just like a scout. My little scout") suggests that she also bought it for him because she likes to mother him. She likes that she can still take care of him, in this instance by providing him with a tool that might be useful to him on his camping trip.

Brian's reaction to the hatchet later in the story is very different. He understands that it is vital to his survival. Indeed, in chapter 8, Brian thinks to himself that "The hatchet was the key to it all" and that "The hatchet was the answer." Indeed, Brian uses the hatchet to construct a shelter, build a fire, and fend off wild animals.

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Brian is on a plane headed to the Canadian oil fields to visit his father when he recalls his mother giving him a hatchet. They were in the car together riding in silence on their way to the plane. After attempting to find out what was bothering Brian, his mother handed him a paper sack containing a hatchet. Brian's mother felt like a hatchet would be useful in the woods of Canada. When she asked him to put it on his belt to see how it looked, he agreed because he felt bad for not speaking to her.

Brian does not remove the hatchet before boarding the plane, because he does not have to pass through security. Although he is concerned it might look "hokey" to have a hatchet on his belt, Brian later realizes how fortunate he was to have the tool. After the crash, the hatchet becomes vital to his survival as he uses it to build shelter and make tools to find food.

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Why did Brian's mother give him a hatchet?

In chapter 1, Brian is flying on a small bush plane to stay with his father, who is a mechanical engineer working in the oil fields of Canada. Brian's parents recently divorced, and his father has custody of him throughout the summer. When Brian opens his satchel on the plane, he pulls out a hatchet with a rubber handgrip. Brian then remembers when he received the gift from his mother before he left to stay with his father in Canada. She had given Brian the hatchet as a gift so that he could use it while out in the woods with his father. Initially, Brian felt like the gift was useless, but he eventually learns that it will be essential to his survival following the plane crash. Fortunately, Brian survives the crash and learns to use his hatchet for a myriad of purposes. Throughout the novel, Brian becomes an expert woodsman and survives alone in the expansive, challenging Canadian wilderness.

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Why did Brian's mother give him a hatchet?

Brian's mother gives him a hatchet because she thinks he might be able to use it while out in the woods with his father.  

When the story begins, Brian is on his way to Canada, where his father now lives. His mother and father recently went through a divorce, and the courts set up a system that has Brian living with his mom during the school year and with his dad during the summer. Dad now lives in a remote, wooded area. Brian's mom buys Brian the hatchet as a going-away present. She tells Brian he might be able to use it while out with his dad in the woods.

Brian took the sack and opened the top. Inside there was a hatchet, the kind with a steel handle and a rubber handgrip. The head was in a stout leather case that had a brass-riveted belt loop.

"It goes on your belt." His mother spoke now without looking at him. There were some farm trucks on the road now and she had to weave through them and watch traffic. "The man at the store said you could use it. You know. In the woods with your father."

Unfortunately for Brian, the plane crashes, and he never makes it to his father's place. Fortunately for Brian, he has the hatchet. 

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In Hatchet, why did Brian's mother give him a hatchet? How did Brian feel about the gift?

In Hatchet, Brian’s family is falling apart. His mother is having an affair, something he calls “The Secret,” and she is seeking a divorce from his father, who lives in Canada. Brian is legally forced to spend the school year with his mother, something he detests, and he is only allowed to visit his father in the summer.

Brian’s mother doesn’t know that he is aware of her affair and its part in the divorce. However, the affair is responsible for Brian being distant from her. She attempts to win him over some by going to a hardware store and buying him a hatchet which she says, “The man at the store said you could use it. You know. In the woods with your father." (Chapter 1) The gift is not meant to be a bonding tool for Brian and his dad, but instead can be understood as an attempt to bridge the divide that has grown between Brian and his mom since the divorce.

Brian is not super thrilled about the hatchet. He says it makes him look “hokey,” but he tries it on because he is still trying to figure out how to talk to his mom. Lucky for him, he puts the hatchet on and forgets about it. He wears it on his belt all the way to the airport, on the plane, and through the crash. Without it, it is unlikely that he would have survived—which is probably why the story is called Hatchet.

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