Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Read Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Compare Robinson and Brian in one or more of the following ways:

a. their reactions to the environments that isolate them;
b. their ingenuity in learning to use resources at hand; and
c. their spiritual struggles.

2. The epilogue reports that journalists were intensely interested in Brian's experience after his return. Write a feature story about Brian for your local newspaper or an adolescent magazine like Boy's Life.

3. The search for Brian ends after a month because he is believed dead. Imagine you are his mother or father and keep a diary of your reactions during the search.

4. Read an encyclopedia entry, a magazine article, or a government document on wilderness survival. How do Brian's reactions and efforts compare with the advice of professionals?

5. Paulsen has said that "Achievements are nothing, but the journey is everything." Apply this principle to Brian's experience.

6. Read The River which is the sequel to Hatchet. Report on the differences between and similarities of Brian's next adventure and Hatchet.

7. Once Brian retrieves the transmitter from the sunken plane, his rescue happens quickly and the novel ends soon after. Look up the term "deus ex machina" in a literary dictionary or encyclopedia. Is the device of the transmitter an example of a "deus ex machina"?

8. Tom Engelhardt writes in his review of the novel that "Paulsen skirts close to basic screen horror." List the characteristics of contemporary horror films popular with adolescents, and determine how many are present in Hatchet.

9. Read Paulsen's Harris and Me whose protagonists have many adventures with farm animals. Compare their relationship with barnyard creatures to Brian's relationship with wilderness animals.

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