"With the heat came clouds of insects—thick, swarming hordes of mosquitoes that flocked to his body, made a living coat on his exposed skin, clogged his nostrils when he inhaled, poured into his mouth when he opened it to take a breath" (Chapter 4, pg. 34)
Paulsen uses rich visuals to describe the way the mosquitoes attack Brian after the sun comes up on his first morning in the forest, accentuating the horror that both readers and Brian himself feel as this happens. "A living coat on his exposed skin" is so descriptive that readers can almost feel the mosquitoes crawling on their own bodies while reading it.
"Everything was green, so green it went into him. The forest was largely made up of pines and spruce, with stands of some low brush smeared here and there and thick grass and some other kind of very small brush all over" (Chapter 4, pg. 36)
As Brian begins to come out of his stupor out of the class, he takes a lot of time to notice every aspect of his surroundings. Paulsen takes care to use extremely descriptive language as Brian discovers this strange place he has found himself in, allowing readers to picture the area where Brian will spend the next two months.
"He waved his hands at Brian, made gestures in front of his face as if he were scratching something, and he worked to make a word with his mouth but at first Brian could not see it. Then his lips made a mmmmm shape but no sound came" (Chapter 8, pg. 78)
This passage details the happenings of Brian's dream, in which his father attempts to tell him how to successfully make a fire. Detailed accounts of the way his father's lips move, the gestures he makes, and the expression on his face allow readers to picture the dream as if they themselves were having it along with Brian.
"He opened his eyes to see the lake torn by the wind, the water slamming in great waves that went in all ways, fought each other and then rose in a spout of water going up into the night sky like a wet column of light" (Chapter 16, pg. 135)
The description of the tornado raging through Brian's campsite is both beautiful and horrible, as it destroys everything that he has worked so hard to establish over the past two months. The words used in this passage radiate strength, power, and destruction: it accurately depicts this devastating force of nature and makes it clear just how extensive the damage is.
Hatchet Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Hatchet is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.