Hatchet Book Summary - Hatchet Book explained in key points

Hatchet summary

Brief summary

Hatchet is a riveting survival story by Gary Paulsen. After a plane crash leaves 13-year-old Brian stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet, he must rely on his wits and determination to stay alive.

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    Summary of key ideas

    Stranded in the Wilderness

    In Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, we meet thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, who is on his way to visit his father in the Canadian oil fields. However, his life takes a drastic turn when the pilot of the small plane he's on suffers a heart attack and dies, leaving Brian alone and stranded in the wilderness. With no one to help him, Brian must rely on his wits and the few possessions he has, including a hatchet his mother gave him before he left.

    Initially, Brian struggles to survive, battling hunger, loneliness, and the harsh environment. He builds a shelter, learns to make fire, and hunts for food. He also faces a series of challenges, including a bear attack and a tornado that destroys his shelter and food supplies. Despite these setbacks, Brian refuses to give up, determined to stay alive until help arrives.

    Survival and Self-Discovery

    As time passes, Brian's survival skills improve, and he begins to adapt to his new life in the wilderness. He learns to fish, forage for edible plants, and even befriends a curious skunk. His days are filled with the tasks of survival, and he finds solace in the routine and the beauty of the natural world around him.

    However, it's not just physical survival that Brian must contend with. He also grapples with his emotional turmoil, particularly his anger towards his parents' recent divorce and his mother's affair. Alone in the wilderness, Brian has the time and space to reflect on his life, and he begins to understand the complexities of adult relationships and the importance of forgiveness.

    Hope and Rescue

    After surviving for fifty-four days, Brian finally spots a rescue plane in the sky. He uses his hatchet to create a signal fire, and the pilot sees it, leading to Brian's long-awaited rescue. Returning to civilization, Brian is a changed person. He is stronger, more self-reliant, and has a deeper appreciation for the world around him.

    Despite his ordeal, Brian also feels a sense of loss at leaving the wilderness. He knows that he will never be the same after his experience, and he carries the lessons he learned about survival, resilience, and the power of the human spirit with him as he returns to his old life.


    In conclusion, Hatchet is a gripping tale of survival and self-discovery. Through Brian's journey, we witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of nature. The novel also serves as a reminder of the importance of adaptability and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. It's a story that resonates with readers of all ages, inspiring us to face our own challenges with courage and determination.

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    What is Hatchet about?

    Hatchet is a gripping novel by Gary Paulsen that tells the story of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Armed with only a hatchet, Brian must learn to survive in the harsh environment, facing numerous challenges along the way. It is a tale of resilience, self-discovery, and the unbreakable human spirit.

    Hatchet Review

    Hatchet (1987) is an adventurous tale about a young boy named Brian who becomes stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Here's why this book is definitely worth your time:

    • With its gripping storyline and immersive descriptions, it transports you into the harsh reality of survival, keeping you hooked from start to finish.
    • The book expertly explores themes of resilience and self-discovery, as Brian learns to adapt and rely on his own resourcefulness in order to survive.
    • Through Brian's journey, the author delivers powerful messages about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of perseverance, leaving you feeling inspired and moved.

    Who should read Hatchet?

    • Readers who enjoy wilderness survival stories
    • Adventurous young adult readers
    • People looking for a compelling and inspiring coming-of-age tale

    About the Author

    Gary Paulsen is an American author known for his young adult and children's books. With a passion for the outdoors, Paulsen draws on his own experiences to create captivating stories of survival and adventure. He has written over 200 books, including Hatchet, Dogsong, and Winterdance. Paulsen's works have received numerous awards and accolades, making him a highly respected figure in the world of literature for young readers.

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    Hatchet FAQs 

    What is the main message of Hatchet?

    The main message of Hatchet is about survival and self-discovery in the face of adversity.

    How long does it take to read Hatchet?

    The reading time for Hatchet varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Hatchet a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Hatchet is a captivating and inspiring book that is definitely worth reading. It beautifully portrays resilience and the power of the human spirit.

    Who is the author of Hatchet?

    The author of Hatchet is Gary Paulsen.

    What to read after Hatchet?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Hatchet, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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