Gary Paulsen

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Wolf Symbol Analysis

Wolf Symbol Icon

After living in the wilderness for over a month, Brian sees a wolf, which symbolizes the harmony that can exist when humans view nature with respect and compassion . Before this encounter, Brian’s interactions with wild animals have mostly caused him fear or pain, as when he is attacked by a porcupine and later by a skunk. However, these earlier episodes help Brian learn how to better coexist with nature, and by the time he encounters the wolf, he is able to master his fear and instead marvel at the wolf’s complete rightness within the natural world. Brian nods and smiles to the wolf and feels that it recognizes him as part of nature as well. This calm encounter with a dangerous animal represents the peace and belonging that Brian comes to feel in the wilderness.

Wolf Quotes in Hatchet

The Hatchet quotes below all refer to the symbol of Wolf. 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 13 Quotes

Brian looked back and for a moment felt afraid because the wolf was so… so right. He knew Brian, knew him and owned him and chose not to do anything to him. But the fear moved then, moved away, and Brian knew the wolf for what it was—another part of the woods, another part of all of it. Brian relaxed the tension on the spear in his hand, settled the bow in his other hand from where it had started to come up. He knew the wolf now, as the wolf knew him, and he nodded to it, nodded and smiled.

Related Characters: Brian Robeson
Related Symbols: Wolf
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
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Wolf Symbol Timeline in Hatchet

The timeline below shows where the symbol Wolf appears in Hatchet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
The Natural World Theme Icon
Slowly turning around, Brian sees a wolf standing up the hill from the lake. It is huge, and he is initially frightened,... (full context)