Brians Return

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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Brian's ReturnBrian's Return is the concluding story of a four book saga written by Gary Paulsen. This book finishes the tale of a teenage boy named Brian Robeson, who has several times faced down death and braved the elements. Brian tries fit back into civilization, but school makes him feel more alone than he was in the woods. So Brian decides to go back and live in the Canadian woods, and visit an old friend who helped him last time he was stranded there. Brian thought that this was going to be a normal trip for him but as it turns out, he gets lost in a huge chain of lakes. Once again, he must use all his skills and his inner strength to survive.

There are two conflicts in the book. The first is about Brian's feeling suffocated by civilization. He is add odds with the culture and doesn't feel like he fits in.

He is around people, yet feels more alone than when he was stranded in the forest. The second conflict centers on Brian's struggles to stay alive, once he leaves civilization and returns to the woods he loves. He gets attacked by some animals and suffers some nasty cuts. In the end, he stares down a bear and realizes he is as strong and mighty as the bear, and that like the bear, he is home.

My brown bag contains five symbols that are significant to the story. The first is a hatchet. Without a hatchet, Brian could not survive the wilderness. He needs is to chop down trees, in order to build a fire to stay warm and keep predatory animals away. The second symbol is a box of matches. Brian uses matches to start the fires to cook his food and keep warm. A third symbol is a map, which Brian consulted in order to navigate his way through the hundreds of lakes and not get lost. A fourth symbol is the canoe, which was Brian's primary means of transportation and also provided shelter on land. My fifth symbol is the bear that helps Brian to understand his true place in the world and helps him to overcome his fears of living where he really belongs.