"The hatchet cut through the aluminum as if it were soft cheese" (Chapter 18, pg. 162) (Simile)
This simile, found when Brian attempts to get into the submerged airplane to retrieve the survival pack, highlights how important the hatchet has been as a tool for his survival. As Brian repeatedly acknowledges, the hatchet was the one thing he had after the crash, and with it he has built up a camp of tools and techniques that have allowed him to thrive in the forest. The placement of this simile makes it even more frightening when he drops the hatchet just moments later.
"His stomach tightened into a series of rolling knots and his breath came in short bursts" (Chapter 3, pg. 25) (Metaphor)
This metaphorical description of Brian's fear emphasizes how serious the situation is after he realizes that the pilot has died and he must fly the plane and land it. It turns his fear from merely a mental state to a physical state as well, accurately conveying how this terror has affected his entire body.
"Gradually, like sloshing oil his thoughts settled back and the panic was gone" (Chapter 5, pg. 50) (Simile)
The description of Brian's thoughts about being rescued as "sloshing oil" is accurate, since oil moves slowly, and in a similar way, it is difficult for him to push back this panic. Once he is able to clear his mind of this fear, he is better equipped to focus on the task at hand: surviving, regardless of when a search party comes to rescue him.
"He was dirty and starving and bitten and hurt and lonely and ugly and afraid and so completely miserable that it was like being in a pit, a dark, deep pit with no way out" (Chapter 7, pg. 65) (Simile)
This simile expresses Brian's sheer frustration with what has happened to him, right after he catches sight of his reflection in the lake and sees how terrible he looks. Though he tries to avoid these moments of desperation and feeling sorry for himself, they still happen while he is the old Brian—it is not until he experiences a shift to his new, transformed self that he fully leaves this pity behind.
"Kind of like a pear, he had thought, with a point on one end and a fat little body; a flying pear" (Chapter 15, pg. 132) (Simile)
Brian compares the foolbird’s shape to a pear. This is an important moment because it is the first time he notices the foolbird's overall shape rather than just trying to see parts of it, like its colors or its feathers. This change in perception allows him to successfully catch his First Meat.
Hatchet Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Hatchet is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.