Study Guide

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge Exploration

By Michael Punke


Putting aside the bear attacks and firefights, The Revenant is nothing if not an ode to exploration. We see that in Hugh Glass, whose lifelong obsession with the unknown has led him to take the most bizarre career trajectory of all-time, going from trader to pirate to Pawnee warrior and back. We also see it in Jim Bridger, the young man who betrays Glass but also shares his new foe's zeal for exploration. Although the novel takes more twists and turns then the Missouri River, you're always kept afloat by its characters' buoyant pursuit of new places and experiences.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Do Bridger and Glass want to become explorers for different reasons? Explain.
  2. How do the voyageurs differ from the Rocky Mountain Fur Company?
  3. Is Fitzgerald a true explorer? Explain.
  4. Will Glass continue exploring after the events of the novel? Or will he return to civilization?

Chew on This

Both Glass's and Bridger's drives toward exploration are rooted in the same need: the need to see and experience the unknown.

While the men of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company explore merely to make cash, the voyageurs explore for the love of it.