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Hatchet

Hatchet

by Gary Paulsen

Exploration Theme

In Hatchet, Brian has no choice but to explore. After all, how stupid would he feel if there was a Dairy Queen on the other side of the lake, and he spent the whole summer scarfing down raw turtle eggs because he didn't know it was there? But more than physical exploration, the book shows Brian exploring the mental boundaries of his world. Deep, right? Again and again, we see him discovering new ways of looking at things, new possibilities for how to understand the world around him. That's the kind of exploration that Shmoop knows something about.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Where do you think Brian's ability to problem-solve comes from? Is problem-solving something you can learn, or are some people just born with it?
  2. How is Brian's willingness to explore different ways of approaching problems related to his ability to persevere through adversity? 
  3. Does exploration always end up well in the book? Does Brian ever regret his willingness to explore new ways of doing things?
  4. How are exploration and knowledge related? Can you have knowledge, as defined in Hatchet, without exploration?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Brian's ability to think creatively is one of the most important tools he has in his quest to survive.

Let's be honest—Brian doesn't do that much physical exploration while he's stranded. Come on, Brian, live a little.

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