© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet Chapter 9 Summary

  • Brian tries to make a fire from the sparks with dried grass and twigs, but the sparks just burn out without catching. Next, he remembers the twenty-dollar bill he has in his pocket and he tries to light that, but again the sparks won't catch. 
  • Hmmm.
  • He then has the idea to use some bark from a nearby birch tree. He pulls off some of the peeling bark, makes a pile of it inside his shelter, and strikes some sparks into it. Again, no fire, but this time a piece of the bark seems to glow a little before it goes out.
  • Realizing the birch bark needs to be thinner in order to hold the fire, Brian spends the next two hours cutting bits of bark into thin strands, making a big pile of birchbark fluff. This time, when he strikes the sparks into the pile, a few of them smolder a bit before going out. 
  • Remembering that fire needs oxygen, he tries again, this time blowing on the smoldering sparks when they fall onto the bark. He blows too hard, though, and the sparks go out. 
  • The next time, he blows more gently, and the glowing sparks grow stronger, suddenly bursting into flame. 
  • Wow. Now that's what we call resourceful.
  • Brian is ecstatic. He runs from the shelter to gather some dry wood to feed the fire. Building up the fire with the wood, he thinks to himself that now he has a friend—a friend named fire. Nice, but let's just hope he doesn't try to give it a hug.
  • The fire will keep him company, and also discourage animals like the porcupine from coming into his shelter. Good combo.
  • Suddenly, Brian wonders what his father and mother are doing at this moment, and he wonders if his mother is with the man from the car. 

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...