by Gary Paulsen
Hatchet Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Brian looked out to the side and saw a small pond and at the edge of the pond some large animal—he thought a moose—standing out in the water. All so still-looking, so stopped, the pond and the moose and the trees, as he slid over them now only three of four hundred feet off the ground—all like a picture. (3.8)
This is how Brian sees the forest below him just before the plane crashes into the lake. Notice how artificial everything looks to him, as though nothing he's seeing is real. The words the narrator uses to describe the scene ("still-looking," "stopped," "like a picture") clue us in to how removed Brian is from the world of nature at this point. Boy, his world is about to be rocked.
Brian opened his eyes and screamed.
For seconds he did not know where he was, only that the crash was still happening and he was going to die, and he screamed until his breath was gone.
Then silence, filled with sobs as he pulled in air, half crying. How could it be so quiet? Moments ago there was nothing but noise, crashing and tearing, screaming, now quiet.
Some birds were singing.
How could birds be singing? (4.10-14)
Waking up after the plane crash, Brian is terrified and shocked by everything he's been through. Nature, though, carries on with business as usual, totally unconcerned—because that's what nature does.
He was in deep woods and didn't have any matches, couldn't make a fire. There were large things in the woods. There were wolves, he thought, and bears—other things. In the dark he would be in the open here, just sitting at the bottom of a tree.
He looked around suddenly, felt the hair on the back of his neck go up. Things might be looking at him right now, waiting for him—waiting for dark so they could move in and take him. (5.70-71)
Brian senses that nature is not always a friendly, happy place to be. We're not in Kansas anymore, are we?