Study Guide

Hatchet Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

  • The chapter starts as Brian remembers a time, two years before, when he and his friend Terry pretended to be lost in the woods and made plans for how to survive. Of course, they had imagined they would have a gun and fishing gear and matches and lots of things that Brian doesn't have now. 
  • Brian decides to try to make a lean-to (a kind of makeshift shelter constructed from sticks and twigs). Looking for a place to build it, he finds a small hollow on one side of the rocky ledge. Not quite a cave, but it will be stronger and dryer than a lean-to. He sits down under the ledge for a while to rest, then goes to the lake to drink some more water. He's weak from hunger, and he realizes that he's got to find something to eat. Unfortunately, he's pretty sure Pizza Hut won't deliver to "the little cave next to the big lake in the woods." 
  • Thinking about food, Brian remembers the previous Thanksgiving, before his mother asked for the divorce and his father moved out. He thinks about the turkey, the smell and the flavor of it. Bad idea, Brian. Bad idea.
  • Forcing himself to focus, Brian gets back to trying to figure out how he can find food now. He remembers a TV show he saw once about pilots in the Arizona desert, and how they managed to get by by eating lizards and some beans they found growing on a bush. There aren't any beans or lizards here, Brian thinks, but there might be some berries. 
  • Brian looks at the sun, wondering what time it is. He thinks about his mother and wonders what she's doing. Since it's Thursday she's probably going to see him, Brian thinks—the man who was in the car with her. 
  • Focusing back on his current situation, Brian decides to go look for berry bushes. He needs to keep the lake and his ledge in sight, though, so that he doesn't get lost. Smart kid.
  • He walks slowly along the side of the lake. He sees several different kinds of birds and eventually comes upon some bushes full of bright red berries, which the birds are eating. Here's hoping the birds' moms taught them that sharing is caring.
  • Although the berries are tart and have large pits, Brian is so hungry that he eats and eats and eats, not stopping until his belly is full. Not wanting the birds to take all the berries after he's gone, he makes a pouch from his torn windbreaker and fills it with as many berries as it will hold. 
  • Back at his hollow on the ridge by the lake, Brian wishes he had matches to start a fire. He tries to start one by rubbing two sticks together, but it doesn't work, and he gives up in frustration. 
  • Next, Brian drags sticks up from the lake and weaves them together as best he can to cover the opening of his hollow under the ledge. He leaves a "doorway" about three feet wide on one side so he can get in and out of the hollow. 
  • He might be frustrated, but we're impressed.
  • As the sun goes down, the mosquitoes return and attack again. Brian dumps the berries and puts on his windbreaker to protect himself a little. He crawls in under the ledge and eventually falls asleep. 

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