The Hatchet: Questions

Chapter One
1. Describe the setting at the beginning of the story. Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to
visit his father, a mechanical engineer in the oil fields of Canada, the summer following his parents' divorce. 2. How old is Brian Robeson? 13. 3. Why is Brian unable to carry on a conversation with the pilot? Because of the noise from the plane engine. 4. With what single word did his thinking always begin? The Secret. 5. What was "The Secret"? He saw his mother with another man. 6. Why is the pilot rubbing his shoulder? Because he had a heart attack. 7. What has Brian's father designed or invented? Some kind of oil drill. 8. Where is his father presently working? In the oil fields of Canada. 9. What would have happened if Brian had gone through regular airport security in today's world? His hatched would be taken. 10. Explain how chapter one ends. That he was alone in the plane with a dead pilot.

Chapter Two
1. How did Brian initially react to the situation? He didn’t panic, he stood calm and thought about what
to do.

2. What motivated Brian to finally attempt to fly the plane? He didn’t want to die. 3. Explain how Brian called for help and describe what happened. He swam to the plane, cut it open and
got out a survival kit which contained a SOS sender and he activated it.

4. What would eventually happen to the plane? It would go down in the water. 5. Why did Brian think that the best place to set down the plane was the edge of the lake? Near the water
and near a good shelter.

6. Describe what happened immediately after the plane's engine coughed and died. The plane slowly went
down and went faster and faster.

Chapter Three
1. What suddenly disappeared as Brian put the plane into a fast glide? altitude 2. What did he think he saw near the edge of the pond? A large animal (maybe a moose). 3. What stroke of good luck did he have just as he approached the lake for his landing? The trees slowed
the plane.

4. Describe the actual scene at the moment of the crash including his escape from the plane. At that
moment he didn’t know anything, who he was or what he was doing.

5. Chapter one ended with one word, "alone" while chapter three also ended with one word,
"nothing". Explain why this is effective. It gets your attention easily.

Chapter Four
1. 2. 3. 4.
Explain "The Secret". Brian saw his mother commit adultery. What happened to the plane? It sunk down deep in the water. What caused Brian considerable discomfort just as the sun began to rise? The insects that bit him. Describe how you might feel if you were in a similar situation to Brian. I would feel frightened, frightened not to see my family and my friends ever again.

Chapter Five
1. What overpowering craving did Brian have when he initially awoke? Hunger.

7. shoes with long laces and pants. 8. What memory did he have upon returning to the shelter? The memory of his mother kissing the blond man. 10. 3. 3. 4. Why did Brian crawl out of his shelter? He had to vomit. Describe Brian's new shelter. 9. Why did Brian wake up in the middle of the night? He screamed and had a stomach ache. 7. Explain the cause of the musty smell in his shelter that night. How does Brian interpret his dream? Being saved and that his parents come together again. Explain why the author writes the word secret with a capital or uppercase letter. 5. Why did Brian feel the hair on the back of his neck go up at the end of the chapter? He thought about the wolves and bears. 8. The hatchet. Make a list of all the things that Brian has in his possession including his clothes. What does Brian stumble upon in the bush? A bear. Why does Brian come to a stop after initially fleeing the area? His brain started taking control because he saw the bear wasn’t chasing him. 2. 8. Chapter Eight 1. Because the Secret is important to him 4. What did Brian experience when he removed the quills from his leg? A lot of pain. Chapter Six 1. What important rule of survival did Brian learn? Have a shelter and know how to catch your food. Using Brian's description. By kicking him out. 6. Chapter Nine . 5. his shoes. Make a second list placing every item in order of importance to his survival. his shirt and his pants. find out what type of bird was eating the berries. ? 6. what was a person's most important asset? Do you agree? Explain.2. The hatchet. Keep faith. 6. 6. Why does Brian stay close to the lake while searching for food? So he can find his way back 5. What had happened to his face while he slept? It had swollen. 7. 4. 9. Why was Brian so sure initially that the search planes would find him within a day or two? Because he had made a fire and because everyone would be looking for him. 2. What happened to Brian's determination to take only a small drink from the lake? He drank a lot. 4. Why did Brian feel it was important to make a staff or lance for himself? So it was easier to catch his fish and other food. Why does Brian decide to eat before constructing the lean-to? Because he was weak 3. Why does Brian finger the hatchet towards the end of the chapter? Because it was the only weapon he had. 3. a shirt. It was some kind of cave. 2. What woke Brian in the middle of the night? An animal. What important discovery does Brian make when he examines the rock at the end of this chapter? He could make sparks by hitting the rock with the hatchet. According to Brian's former English teacher. Why did Brian place the hatchet by his head when he went to sleep that evening? To be able to grab it immediately if some wild animal entered his shelter. How do we know that Brian is developing an affinity for his shelter? He starts to think of it as home. Why did Brian slap the water with his hand? To break the reflection. 5. What type of food is he delighted to find? Raspberries. What does he discover when he looks back? The bear didn’t chase him. Why did Brian almost spit out the berries? Because they were bitter Chapter Seven 1. Explain how Brian fought off the intruder. because that motivates you to get food. Because he made a porcupine mad.

1. tendrils. flue Enrichment: Some people argue that fire is the greatest invention of civilization. Cro-Magnon. Explain why some people may feel the hatchet is more dangerous. Where did Brian store the remaining eggs? In his shelter. Vocabulary: ignite. Defend their position. What are some of the other greatest inventions of all time? Chapter Ten 1. gnarled. 6. 3. Such accidents could prove fatal on a wilderness trip. exasperation. 5. He saw his uncle eat raw eggs which meant it could be done. 2. 4. coals. Some turtles are protected by government regulations. 2. mass. How did the sight of the kingfisher awaken him to a new source of food? He remembered he could fish. . 6. Explain how Brian's body and mind had changed. banked. sputtered. 2. What kind of home did Brian construct? A shelter under a ledge with a ‘’door’’ from wood. craved. kindling. flammable. Act out a scene where a group of primitive people discovers fire for the very first time. crayfish Enrichment: Some experienced outdoor advocates recommend an axe be taken on a camping trip as opposed to the more "dangerous" hatchet. Happy. Why was cleaning the camp a laughing matter? There was not much to clean. What unexpected benefits did Brian derive from the fire? The smoke repelled mosquitoes. dormant. What was Brian's suggestion for avoiding depression? Clean the shelter. consuming. 8. Describe What Brian found under a pile of sand. Why did Brian refuse to leave the fire at first? He was afraid it would die. Where in North America can one expect to find snapping turtles. pyramid. Find some information and photographs about these animals on the internet and share them with your classmates. Why was Brian so willing to use money to help start his fire? It was useless where he was. He needed to keep adding fuel to the nest. wad. 4. 5. Explain why Brian described his new "friend" as hungry. How did Brian hope to obtain this new source of food? By spearing them Vocabulary: staggering. Turtle eggs. 3. gratified. sloshing. How large was his initial stockpile of wood? As high as his head and 6 feet across. Why was he unable to cook his food? He had no container. shredded. What key element was still missing that prevented the fire from igniting? Fuel. 6. convulse Enrichment: Research various types of turtles native to British Columbia. How long did it take Brian to build the home? Over 2 hours. intensity. clump. Describe how Brian felt when the "nest" finally burst into flames. Vocabulary: smeared. Why did the fire trigger Brian's memory of his encounter with the porcupine? Because fire repels wildlife. eddied. tinder. 7. He had become stronger and more alert. 5. haunches. Some individuals argue that a hatchet with its shortened handle is more likely to strike you if the blade is accidentally deflected while chopping wood. bluff. dusk. brace. 4. raw. Chapter Eleven 1. 7. smoldered. 3. Provide evidence that despite his perilous situation Brian remains optimistic. Find some examples and explain why the government has decided to protect them. oxygen. What did Brian do with his new find? He ate them and collected some more for later. How did he resolve the problem? Have a large pile of wood ready to refuel the fire.

Vocabulary: rectify. 5. so everything you see under water is in a different position. The skunk sprayed his odour but it’s flammable so as soon as it hit the fire it gave a sort of explosion. With a small group of your classmates make as long a list as possible of the various ways that civilization utilizes camouflage. sulfurous. 7. 8. 4. Explain how Brian's encounter with the skunk had almost fatal results. Research how camouflage helps animals and also why humans have opted to use camouflage. manure. . propped. the creatures of the wild? 3 days What "constant" problem did Brian face in the wilderness? to protect the food he found. gutted. 3. speckled. enclosure Enrichment: Pretend you are part of a research group designing survival kits for hikers who may become lost in the wilderness. lunging. Who would you call and what would you say? Chapter Fourteen 1. refracts. wove. Why was Brian looking for one of the foolish birds? Eat them. Describe his first attempt at making a bow and arrow. persistent. How does he modify his spear in an attempt to make it work more efficiently? He makes to points at 2. funk. exulted Enrichment: Pretend that you are lost in the wilderness and stumble across a cabin with a satellite telephone. 7. bearings. Chapter Thirteen 1. two-prong. corrosive. How was Brian able to obtain a ready supply of fresh fish for his diet? because of the food he threw back into the water new fish came. 2. 4. carp.Chapter Twelve 1. What did he discover after spending hours modifying his spear? It didn’t work. swiveling. creatures. How long did it take for Brian to improve his shelter so that he would be safer from the elements and 5. measured. rocks forming a pen. Why is Brian so distraught at the end of this chapter? He heard a plane coming in his direction but it turned away. 6. influence. 3. 4. What does the first sentence of this chapter indicate? He only focuses on the water. Explain in scientific terms why he was unsuccessful when he first used his bow and arrow to fish. Water deflects light. confines. mesh. telegraphed. fragment. Describe Brian's new location for storing his food securely. In the wilderness there’s more chance a mistake will be your death. Explain the difference between a mistake in the city and a mistake made in the wilderness. 3. Vocabulary: flailing. What is the source of the persistent whining noise? Insects. the end. What sudden explosion terrified Brian? He stepped on a bird. punky. He failed at it. thrusting. What items would you include and why? Once you've designed your product create a poster advertising your product. You may also take a photo of your survival kit and design a website for it. propping. extent. What other animals did Brian encounter on his search for the flock of foolish birds? A Bear and a wolf. Why did Brian attempt to chase the skunk away from his campsite? So it wouldn’t eat the turtle eggs. crude. hummock. tapered. What incident marked the passing of the "old" Brian and the birth of a "new" one? Him seeing the wolf. primitive. 6. waggle Enrichment: Camouflage is used by both people and animals. seared. What new hope sprung from his misfortune? Though hope? Vocabulary: tension. impaired. 5. How was he able to reach this new location? it was on the shore. devastating. vital. 2.

Why did Brian have to work slowly? Because he wasn’t feeling very well because of the injuries the moose caused. Describe the method Brian had perfected when hunting birds.Chapter Fifteen 1. chattered. Some people not only refuse to eat meat products but also choose not to eat dairy products. What special day was burned into Brian's memory? The day of first meat. bounded. 4. banded Enrichment: List reasons why some people choose not to eat meat products. the birds in no time. Why did he decide to build a raft? To go to the plane that’s in the water. With some of your classmates build a model of your raft. fragile. streamlined. fish pen. sarcasm. ruefully. . 2. Some nutritionists argue that meat is unhealthy for the human diet. insane. Explain why you agree or disagree defending your position. What is the telltale sign that a moose is angry? The moose would scrape its hooves over the ground. 3. spout Enrichment: Many people in contemporary society view hunting as a gruesome form of bloodsport. 2. 2. What incident indicates that Brian had become a highly skilled hunter of birds? That he would catch 5. rivets. Why do most indigenous cultures such as First Nations people view hunting as an important part of their life despite the fact that most are now able to purchase all their foods at grocery stores? Chapter Seventeen 1. 5. cluttered. What problem did he face once he had killed the bird? He didn’t know how to cook it. saliva. Why was Brian able to reassure himself despite the fact he was always hungry? Because he ate so little. 8. retrieved. he needed less food anyway. Why did Brian's eyes suddenly snap open at the thought of the plane's tail sticking out of the water? He realized there could be food in there or some medical supplies. research how to build a raft. shaft. Chapter Sixteen 1. 6. How long did it take him to push the raft out to the plane? It took him the whole afternoon. He had to look for the sign the birds gave just before they flew away. stabilize. Why was being seriously injured synonymous with being killed? Because if he would be seriously injured he wouldn’t be able to find food. wisps. fluttered. 3. fuselage. What woke Brian up that night while he slept in his shelter? A huge tornado storm that blew everything away. What was the telltale sign that a bird was about to fly away? The bird would twist his head. What is sticking six to eight inches out of the water after the tornado passes? The tail of the plane. Vocabulary: refine. 3. the shape. Vocabulary: tattered. What secret key finally enabled Brian to detect the birds before they exploded into flight. stymied. 6. 5. wrenched. hatch. 4. Prepare some vegetarian diets for your classmates to taste. pitch. Vocabulary: journal. 7. How does the author make us aware of Brian's appreciation for the new food? That he would do almost anything for food. 4. murky Enrichment: Using the internet. Describe the moose attack on Brian. Conduct some research to find out why. What caused Brian to shudder when he thought of the front of the plane? He thought of the dead body that was still inside the plane. Explain how he finally got the bird? he was able to get close enough to the bird to spear it. dung. column. The moose was angry so it attacked Brian.

furor.Chapter Eighteen 1. rummaging. What happened that lead to Brian's rescue? He pushed the button of the transmitter. Cree is considered by some academics to be the lingua franca for many other native groups whose own mother tongue has disappeared. How much weight did Brian lose during his ordeal? Half his weight. He almost drowned getting his hatchet back. stale. 4. transmitter. virtually. In small groups discuss how First Nation cultures such as the Cree may have managed to retain their language while many other native groups have lost theirs. How do we know that Brian was exhausted when he finally got back to shore? Because he couldn’t walk properly anymore. propel. Because he thought he was a fake wildlife survivor. 5. Communities along the coast where Cree is still spoken as a first language include: Fort Albany. Make a list of some of the unbelievable riches that he found. Explain why this gruesome scene is an essential part of life's cycle and consider the alternatives. Explain why Brian's question at the end of this chapter was rather unusual? Because it’s not a normal question you would ask someone. Vocabulary: butane. surging Enrichment: Brian describes a gruesome scene of a decomposing body in the plane's wreckage. Attawapiskat and Fort Severn to name but a few. How does Brian react to the gruesome scene he encounters in the plane? He reacts disgusted because he ate the fish that were nibbling on the pilot’s body. Explain why he had up and down feelings about the survival pack. Do you agree? Explain. Epilogue 1. 3. 6. elevator. Cree is the spoken language of the natives. drone Enrichment: Write an alternative ending to this novel. Explain the term "lingua franca" and research native languages in Canada to see if you agree. encased. What causes Brian to rage at his own carelessness? He dropped his hatchet in the water. 5. What did Brian find himself doing in grocery stores for years afterwards? Looking at good stuff such as vegetables. lean. How did he relight the fire this time and explain what this signifies? He light the fire with some matches. As of 2005 many native children living in communities in Northern Ontario along the James Bay Coast still speak Cree in their homes and with their friends at school. 2. it was almost to easy. What does Brian compare the aluminum covering to as he cuts through it with the hatchet? He compares it with cutting into butter. Yes I agree. substantial. What does Brian discover when he slams his fist against the plane in frustration? That the material of the plane wasn’t very hard to break. predators Enrichment: Research the Cree Indians in Canada. Vocabulary: unwittingly. Describe Brian's second attempt at retrieving the hatchet. 3. consumed. 2. In the epilogue the author speculates what might have happened to Brian had he not been rescued. 4. Kashechewan. Research the Cree language and Cree syllabics. 2. . swiveled. you won’t survive in the wilderness forever. marvelling. 3. Vocabulary: stabilizer. All kinds of packed food. In many Cree communities today. Make sure to consider the numerous possibilities. 4. Chapter Nineteen 1. It need not be a happy ending. frenzied. Explain the purpose of an epilogue? To give readers information about what happened after the story.

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