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by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet Chapter 7 Summary

  • Brian wakes up suddenly, yelling for his mother, wracked by horrible, excruciating stomach pain. Don't judge him, guys—everyone wants their mom when they're feeling sick, right? 
  • He crawls out the doorway of his shelter and vomits onto the sand. He crawls farther down toward the water and vomits some more. For the next hour or so, he vomits and has terrible diarrhea. (Don't say we didn't warn you.)
  • Finally, he's able to crawl back into his shelter. He can't sleep, though—he's thinking about his mother sitting in the car with the strange man. He saw his mother kissing the man, and this is the secret that he hasn't been able to tell his father about, the secret that led to the divorce. 
  • Finally, exhausted, Brian falls asleep. 
  • When he wakes up again, Brian's a little disoriented. He hears the whine of the mosquitoes and smells his own vomit, reminding him of where he is. Not exactly an ideal wake-up call.
  • He thinks his stomach trouble must have been the result of eating too many of the berries. He crawls out of the shelter and uses sticks to try to clean the mess in the sand. Then he goes down to the lake to wash his hands and drink some water. 
  • His own reflection in the lake frightens him—he's covered with dirt, his face is swollen and lumpy, and his hair is matted. He feels sorry for himself, and cries miserably for a few minutes. At least he doesn't vomit or scream, right?
  • Finally, he goes back to the shelter and eats a few of the berries (he calls them "gut cherries" now, because of how they affected his stomach). He's careful not to eat too many, and to choose the ones that seem to be the most ripe, taking time to wash them in the lake first. Afterward, he sorts the remaining berries into piles, separating the ripe ones from the others, and covering both piles with grass to keep the bugs off.
  • Tonight, he thinks, he can eat some more of the gut cherries, but meanwhile, he needs to try to find better berries. He'll go looking, and be careful to come home to his shelter before nightfall.
  • Walking alongside the lakeshore, he passes the gut cherry bushes and finds a clearing a little bit farther along. The clearing is full of raspberry bushes, and Brian eats his fill, then starts picking more to load into his windbreaker-bag. 
  • Suddenly Brian hears a slight noise behind him, and he turns to find a huge black bear standing less than twenty feet away from him. Gulp.
  • It stands on its hind legs, studying him. Then it lowers itself onto all four legs, eats some berries, and goes on its way. 
  • Without even knowing what he's doing, Brian finds himself running back toward his shelter. After running about fifty yards, he stops. The bear wasn't interested in eating him, he tells himself, and he needs more of the raspberries. 
  • Slowly he convinces himself to go back and pick more, although he's more cautious on the way back. Good call.
  • At about noon it starts to rain, and Brian takes his windbreaker full of raspberries and goes back to his shelter. He's more or less comfortable, even a bit cozy as the rain pours down outside. 
  • That evening he thinks again about the bear, and he takes his hatchet out of his belt and puts it by his head before he goes to sleep. 

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