Hatchet by Gary Paulsen tells the story of Brian, a young boy who survives a plane crash that leaves him alone in the wilderness in Canada. Through internal conflict, external forces working against him, and with the help of his hatchet (a recent present from his mother), Brian learns to survive on his own. Paulsen breaks down the different types of conflict and helps his readers better understand how a small event can affect the larger plot of a story.
Hatchet Summary: Sequencing Activity |
In literature, readers need to understand that the sequence of events can play a very important role in whether or not someone can follow the plot. There are varying ways to show sequencing. In Hatchet, one could choose to show the plane crash, Brian tending to his porcupine injuries and then his rescue. In this example, we show how Brian goes from starving with nothing to eat, to learning to forage and hunt/fish for his survival. Whether students decide to show a big picture or a tighter view, it is important to show how order is important in writing. Without proper sequencing, plots don't really come together.
Students should think of a series of events with a discernible connection and create a storyboard that shows something that happens in sequence.
Brian has no food and is terrified that he will starve after he survived the crash. He finds some turtle eggs and decides to eat them, even though he doesn't have any fire.
He then realizes that he can forage for berries. He finds raspberries and some other berries that he describes as "gut cherries," that taste horrible and make his stomach hurt. He realizes that he is not the only one foraging when he sees a very large bear.
Eventually, Brian is able to begin hunting and fishing when he makes a spear and a bow and arrow. He is slowly learning how to feed himself.