Gary Paulsen

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Hatchet makes teaching easy.
Rifle Symbol Icon

The rifle that Brian finds in the plane’s survival pack represents humankind’s overwhelming power and ability to harshly dominate the natural world. At first, the rifle appears to be a valuable asset, but Brian quickly becomes uncomfortable holding it and decides not to use it, even though it would make his hunting much easier. Brian’s discomfort stems from the fact that the rifle removes the need for all the knowledge and sense of harmony he has gained in the wilderness; it would allow him to survive without truly understanding or caring about his environment. In this way, the rifle functions as an opposing symbol to the wolf. Where the wolf represents peaceful connection to nature, the rifle represents disruption, illuminating the harmful separation that occurs when humans try to take from or overpower the natural world without bothering to understand it.

Rifle Quotes in Hatchet

The Hatchet quotes below all refer to the symbol of Rifle. 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
Chapter 19 Quotes

It was a strange feeling, holding the rifle. It somehow removed him from everything around him. Without the rifle he had to fit in, to be part of it all, to understand it and use it—the woods, all of it. With the rifle, suddenly, he didn’t have to know; did not have to be afraid or understand.

Related Characters: Brian Robeson
Related Symbols: Rifle
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Hatchet LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hatchet PDF

Rifle Symbol Timeline in Hatchet

The timeline below shows where the symbol Rifle appears in Hatchet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 19
Adversity and Growth Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...thinks of as “the presents” and discovers a fishing kit as well as a survival rifle. (full context)
Independence vs. Connection Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Brian assembles the rifle and immediately notices how strange it makes him feel. He realizes that the power it... (full context)