Study Guide

Hatchet Chapter 18

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Chapter 18

  • Brian works himself around the plane two more times, but still can't figure out a way to get in. In frustration, he bangs his fist against the plane, only to find that the plane's aluminum cover gives easily under the force. Well, that's convenient.
  • He pulls out his hatchet, thinking that maybe he can use it to cut his way into the plane and, amazingly, it works—he quickly cuts a triangular hole in the plane's side. 
  • While he's working on pulling the aluminum back to make the hole larger, he suddenly drops the hatchet. He feels it fall into the water and bump into his foot on its way to the bottom of the lake.
  • Major, epic fail.
  • At first, he can't believe what's happened. Without his hatchet, he thinks, he has nothing—no tools, no fire, no food.
  • Determined to get the hatchet back, Brian takes a deep breath and plunges into the water. He doesn't know how deep the lake is, but he gets down about six or seven feet before he has to come back up for air. He tries again, kicking against the plane for more momentum, and is able to grab the hatchet from where it's settled at the bottom of the lake. Just barely making it back up to the surface before he runs out of air, he rests awhile on the side of the raft before turning back to the plane. 
  • Whew.
  • Eventually Brian is able to make the hole in the plane large enough to fit his body through. Although it makes him nervous, he lowers himself into the hole and, coming up several times for air, he dives again and again into the wreck. 
  • Finally, he spots the survival bag. As he tugs it back to the surface, he catches sight of the remains of the pilot, badly decomposed. 
  • Gross. 
  • But wait, it gets better. Brian vomits in the water, almost drowning before he's able to kick his way back to the surface, still clutching the survival bag. Remind us not to go for a dip in the lake anytime soon, okay?
  • Slowly, Brian uses the raft to get himself and the bag back to the lakeshore. The bag is so heavy that once on the shore he has to drag it back to the shelter. It takes several hours, and by the time he finishes he's too exhausted even to look into the bag to see what it holds. Instead, he sinks into sleep. 
  • This is called suspense. We don't know about you, but Shmoop definitely wants to see what's in the bag.

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