Quotes From Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Quotes From Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Page content

The Plane Crash

" ‘All flying is easy. Just takes learning. Like everything else. Like everything else.’ " (page 5)

“He was alone. In the roaring plane with no pilot. He was alone.” (page 12)

Both of these Hatchet quotes are in chapter one of the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. The first one is said by the pilot to Brian. This quote is basically saying that anyone can accomplish anything with practice. This is foreshadowing what is about to happen. When the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes, Brian learns to take care of himself, find food, and create fire.

The second quote emphasizes how alone Brian actually is although he already felt this alone because of his parents' divorce and his mother’s boyfriend. Now, he not only feels alone, but he is physically alone, too. Throughout the entire novel, Brian’s physical and mental state often parallel each other.

Quotes about Despair

Throughout the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Brian feels despair when he is the sole survivor of the plane crash, and he must learn to live in the wilderness on his own. Here are some Hatchet quotes that show Brian’s despair.

“If you keep walking back from good luck, he thought, you’ll come to bad luck.” (page 40) Brian thinks this early on in the novel, and it shows that he is sinking into despair.

“If his mother hadn’t begun to see him and forced the divorce, Brian wouldn’t be here now.” (page 61) Brian is blaming his mother for his problem. When people blame others, they are not helping themselves.

“Long tears, self-pity tears, wasted tears.” (page 70) This quote shows that Brian had given into despair and wasted time crying for himself. He had cried in the cave and sat there thinking he would never survive. He went through a large amount of time feeling sorry for himself.

Quotes about Change, Hope, and Survival

Once Brian stops feeling sorry for himself, he changes in the Hatchet novel. He starts to feel hope that he will be able to survive. With these Hatchet quotations and explanations, you will see some of the changes that happen to Brian.

" ‘You are your most valuable asset. Don’t forget that. You are the best thing you have.’ " (page 51)

Brian remembers one of his teachers saying this quote in class. It shows that Brian is trying to be hopeful that he can survive because he is his own greatest resource.

“He was not the same. The plane passing changed him, the disappointment cut him down and made him new. He was not the same and would never be again like he had been. That was one of the true things, the new things. And the other one was that he would not die, he would not let death in again.” (page 123)

“In measured time, 47 days had passed since the crash. Forty-two days, he thought, since he had died and had been born as the new Brian.” (page 122)

Both of these quotes come in chapter 13 after Brian attempts suicide when a rescue plane does not see him. Brian decides that he is not going to give in to death. That he is going to fight death and survive. He starts referring to himself as the new Brian.

“Come on, he thought, baring his teeth in the darkness—come on. Is that the best you can do—is that all you can hit me with—a moose and a tornado? Well, he thought, holding his ribs and smiling, then spitting mosquitoes out of his mouth. Well, that won’t get the job done. That was the difference now. He had changed, and he was tough.” (page 157)

Brian is different. Before this a tornado and a moose attack would have definitely led him down a path of despair. But by this time in the Hatchet novel, these Hatchet quotations show that he has definitely changed. He can face anything and win because he has a change of attitude. He has found a positive attitude.


  • The edition used with this article is: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen; published by Aladdin Paperbacks; October 1996

This post is part of the series: Studying Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is a captivating novel about a boy’s survival in the wilderness while he deals with his parents' divorce. This series will help you better understand the novel and give you practice with reading skills at home.

  1. Understanding Novels: Free Activities For the Novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  2. Hatchet Quotes and Explanations
  3. Questions and Summary for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Hatchet Review for Theme and Author’s Purpose