Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Essay by mattl February 2005

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Gary Paulsen was born May 17, 1939 in Minnesota. During the first few years of his life, he was raised by several relatives, because his father was stationed in Europe during the Second World War. His mother worked in a factory and he ran away from home at the age of 14 and travelled around with a carnival, where he learned much about life. After that period he moved back to Minnesota where he turned to the sport of dog racing. But after some years he suffered an attack of angina and was forced to give up his dogs. So he put all his energy in writing books and since 1985 he published more than 175 books. The most popular are Hatchet, Dogsong, The Winter Room and also the whole Series about Brian Robeson who's also the protagonist of Hatchet. Today Gary Paulsen is one of the most important writers of young adult literature and he won many prices with his novels.

His books frequently appear on the "best books" lists of the American Library Association.

Main characters:

Brian Robeson: He's a typical thirteen-year-old city boy, who finds it extremely difficult to cope with the divorce of his parents. He's also not used to being alone, until his plane crash-lands in the Canadian wilderness, where he starts a new period of his life.

Brian's Mom: Brian lives with her in New York during the whole year except of the summer holidays. She cheated on Brian's Dad and that's also the reason why his parent's divorced.

Brian's Dad: Since he separated from Brian's Mom he works as an engineer in the Canadian oil fields, where Brian wants to visit him.


The book is about a typical thirteen-year-old city boy with the name Brian Robeson. His parents divorced...