Course Hero Logo

Hatchet | Study Guide

Gary Paulsen

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Hatchet Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 Sep. 2017. Web. 10 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, September 1). Hatchet Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 10, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Hatchet Study Guide." September 1, 2017. Accessed June 10, 2023.


Course Hero, "Hatchet Study Guide," September 1, 2017, accessed June 10, 2023,

Hatchet | Chapter 12 | Summary



Brian makes a spear but finds the fish move too quickly for him to use it. He tries different ways of throwing it before deciding to craft a bow and arrow. As he works through the day he eats a turtle egg and some berries. These make him full, although he wouldn't have been full on so little food before.

While searching for wood to make his bow, he startles a bird and considers that he can catch birds for food, too. As he works on the bow, he hears a whine in the distance. It is a plane, and Brian gets excited. He runs back to camp to get the fire going to draw their attention. He throws extra wood on the fire, but the sound of the plane changes. It turns away and does not come back. He begins to despair, thinking no one will ever come for him. He is alone, he thinks, and "there [is] nothing for him."


In this chapter, the theme of change takes some twists and turns. Brian's breakthroughs in skill and self-knowledge are coming more quickly. He doesn't just grow and change: he recognizes how much he has grown and changed. Consciousness always leads him to success, although the route can be roundabout. He "spen[ds] hours and hours" trying to make a spear that doesn't work, but the failure leads him to decide to make a new tool, a bow and arrow. He also realizes he can hunt birds as well as fish, and he goes to work designing the new tool, even though "he had never made a bow, never shot a bow in his life."

But Brian's transformation is not complete. He has only been stranded for five days, and he's under pressures that could easily crush an adult. So a new challenge arises when the plane appears and then disappears, dashing his hopes. As his emotions overtake his reason, jumps to the conclusion that "he [will] not get out of this place. Not now, not ever." The next stage in Brian's journey is to learn how to survive emotionally.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Hatchet? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!