Study Guide

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge Man and the Natural World

By Michael Punke

Man and the Natural World

Hugh Glass and the natural world have a dysfunctional relationship in The Revenant. Sometimes it's all sunshine and roses, with Glass admiring the majesty of nature with an almost religious zeal. At other times, however, this is an abusive relationship if we've ever seen one—you know, like the time he gets his face ripped off by a mama bear. Ring a bell? Although we see many facets of the natural world in the novel, some good and some bad, the one consistent thing is that nature cannot be controlled, predicted, or tamed. The only way to survive within it, as Glass learns, is to allow yourself to become a part of it.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Why is Bridger so drawn to the frontier?
  2. What does the bear attack symbolize about nature?
  3. How does Glass survive life on the frontier?
  4. What does Glass mean when he says that "God" can be found in the Western frontier?

Chew on This

Bridger and Glass are so drawn to the natural world because of the freedom that comes with entering the unknown.

Glass is only able to survive within nature by becoming a part of it, rather than separating himself from it.