Hatchet

by

Gary Paulsen

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The pilot is an unnamed man in his mid-forties who flies Brian in a small plane to see his father in Northern Canada. The pilot is brusque but kind, making little conversation with Brian but encouraging him to enjoy the flight and even to try his hand at controlling the plane. Brian notices that the pilot is so engaged in flying that he seems to be an actual part of the plane rather than a separate being. The pilot suffers a fatal heart attack midflight, leaving Brian alone to land the plane and survive in the wilderness. The memory of the pilot’s death and the knowledge that his body remains in the lake haunts Brian throughout the book, sometimes frightening him and sometimes inspiring him to remain strong on his own.

Pilot Quotes in Hatchet

The Hatchet quotes below are all either spoken by Pilot or refer to Pilot. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Hatchet published in 1987.
Chapter 2  Quotes

“Help! Somebody help me! I’m in this plane and don't know… don’t know… don’t know…” And he started crying with the screams, crying and slamming his hands against the wheel of the plane, causing it to jerk down, then back up. But again, he heard nothing but the sound of his own sobs in the microphone, his own screams mocking him, coming back into his ears.

Related Characters: Brian Robeson (speaker), Pilot
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Luck, he thought. I have luck, I had good luck there. But he knew that was wrong. If he had had good luck his parents wouldn’t have divorced because of the Secret and he wouldn’t have been flying with a pilot who had a heart attack and he wouldn’t be here where he had to have good luck to keep from being destroyed.

Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Hatchet LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hatchet PDF

Pilot Character Timeline in Hatchet

The timeline below shows where the character Pilot appears in Hatchet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...window into a blurry green wilderness. The only other person is the plane is the pilot, a quiet middle-aged man. The two do not talk over the roar of the plane’s... (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...that he refers to internally as the “Secret.” Brian begins to cry, hoping that the pilot won’t notice. (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
Brian looks over at the pilot and notices how attuned he is to the plane, almost as if he is an... (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The pilot turns his attention back to flying, and Brian is again alone with his painful memories... (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...after all, but notices that the smell in the plane is getting worse, and the pilot looks increasingly unwell. Still distracted, Brian remembers driving to the airport outside New York City... (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
Brian realizes that the pilot’s pain is getting worse. The pilot tries to talk, but is in too much pain... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
Brian remains frozen for a minute, reliving what he saw and wishing desperately for the pilot to wake up. He decides that he has to help the pilot, but finds that... (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
Brian takes the headset from the pilot, even though he is horrified to touch his body, and uses the microphone to call... (full context)
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...will run out of fuel if he does not land soon. He also remembers the pilot knocking into the controls and understands that the plane is no longer on its original... (full context)
Chapter 4
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
...or has other serious injuries. Brian is grateful to be alive and then remembers the pilot’s death again, thinking of his body submerged in the lake. (full context)
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...and the insect bites, Brian looks over his surroundings, trying not to think about the pilot sunken in the lake. He is overwhelmed by the green of everything around him, seeing... (full context)
Chapter 5
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...ignore a nagging realization about his time in the plane. Slowly, he remembers that the pilot had knocked the plane off course and is forced to admit to himself that the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...He realizes that the object is the tail of the submerged plane. Thinking of the pilot sunken in the water, he walks along the shore to the plane and focuses his... (full context)
Chapter 17
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...of the openings are underwater and is unsure how to proceed. He thinks of the pilot’s body still sitting in the cockpit, but feels unable to give up his chance at... (full context)
Chapter 18
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...and grabs the cloth bag. Eyes open, Brian catches sight of what was once the pilot’s head, now a nearly bare skull with the flesh eaten away by fish. Horrified, Brian... (full context)
Epilogue
The Natural World Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...rescued but the dreams are “never bad.” The government sends a team to recover the pilot’s body, and reporters photograph the campsite. Seeing those pictures often jogs Brian’s memory and triggers... (full context)