Essay title: The Hatchet
The pilot remarks on some pain in his shoulder as Brian once again recalls the details of the divorce. Brian's father knows that his mother wants a divorce, but his father has no idea why nor does he favor the split. The court has decided that Brian will live with his mother during the school year and with his father during the summer. The plane jerks, awakening Brian from his thoughts. He notices the smell of body gas in the plane and assumes the pilot had a stomachache. He also seems to be experiencing increasing pains in his shoulder and arm. The divorce one month behind him, Brian is heading north to visit his father and to bring him some special equipment from New York.
A mechanical engineer, his father has perfected a new drill bit for oil drilling. Brian recalls the long ride from the city to Hampton to meet the plane, during which Brian's mother had tried to convince him to tell her what was wrong, but he felt he could not tell her that he knew "the secret." When they had arrived in Hampton, his mother gave him a hatchet to use in the woods during the summer. Sensing that his mother felt particularly vulnerable, Brian had humored her by attaching the hatchet to his belt, where remained for the duration of the plane ride.
Returning to the present to see the pilot jerk in his seat, Brian suddenly realizes the gravity of the situation. A jolt of pain barring his efforts to use the radio, the pilot jerks and flails in his seat while it becomes apparent to Brian that he is having a heart attack. Once the attack has ended and a frightening silence emerges, it takes many tense seconds for Brian to actually grasp what had happened. Seeing the whites of his eyes, Brian tries to comprehend the pilot's likely death, and to determine what action he must take, alone in a plane thousands of feet in the air.Chapter 2Brian feels immobile after the pilot's heart attack, due to his state of shock at the events of the plane ride. The plane has continued without any assistance from Brian or the pilot, and Brian suddenly realizes he must take control of the plane. Confused by the numerous dashboard controls, Brian seeks the controls for the radio.
Reaching over the pilot to remove his headset, he bumps the wheel and must make a serious of corrections to right it again. He tries to use the radio to no avail, as he loses the signal before he can convey any useful information. Every ten minutes for the rest of the ride Brian again attempts and fails to establish contact.
Attempting to envision a successful landing of the plane, Brian finds he has insufficient time to prepare. The plane engine dies suddenly, forcing him to land earlier than he had expected. He points the plane's nose down and vomits.Chapter 3Seeing only trees rather than lakes directly in front of him, Brian becomes convinced he will not survive the plane's descent. Finally he spots an L-shaped lake, uncertain whether he has enough speed to reach it.
At that instant the plane hits the trees, shooting through them and landing on the lake. Water rushes over Brian, who screams and vomits during the descent, but he succeeds in unbuckling his seatbelt and swimming up to the surface. When he finally reaches the shore, Brian passes out from pain and exhaustion.AnalysisThe opening chapters of this novel introduce several elements of content, style, and theme that persist throughout the.