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Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Club Buzz- Hatchet

Gary Paulsen famous American author, explores the rugged, Canadian wilderness, with protagonist Brian in the novel, Hatchet. During our recent, book club chat we discovered that in order to survive in the wilderness we not only needed a level head, but also certain character traits like; resilience, patience, resolve and inner strength.  Survival gear is good and handy, but as we learn with Brian, sometimes these are not enough. 

This book set at a reading level of about 13 years, is a great novel for introducing youngsters to the theme of Man vs Nature.  Brian learns how to commune with nature, and as some of our students revealed he establishes an affinity for the animals and environment, which metaphorically helps him deal with his inner conflicts relating to his parents divorce.  We discussed how we might react in such a situation, how would we respond as Christians, and whether this would be different to Brian's plight, in his transformation from negative to positive attitude.  Brian learns to deal with the forces of climate, wild animals, and the initiation into manhood.  As he grows to respect God's creation, he becomes more resourceful and patient in  meeting his challenges with rationale, as opposed to emotion.

The symbolic hatchet is reinforced many times during the book, and becomes Brian's "raison d'etre".  We share in Brian's successes with an appreciation of how the mind and body can work together.  Some students shared how God enables physical and mental changes, with prayer and meditation, so that one can survive such situations.  By the end of the book Brian has achieved several milestones in his path towards adulthood, and he sees his family in a different light.  God has brought him full circle; from thoughts of death,  to a deeper understanding of human relationships, and the emotions that constitute family loyalty. 

If you are wanting to teach your youngster about surviving in the wilderness Gary Paulsen has drawn up all the necessary requirements for outdoor emergency preparation.  This is useful if you are covering some of the PE outcomes in grade 8/9.  His survival tips might just come in handy the next time you are out in our beautiful wilderness!

Here are some cyber guides if you are contemplating doing this as a novel study:
Hatchet Cyberguide


We will meet on Tuesday April 5 at 7.15 pm.  Please let me know if you would like to join us in this session on Elluminate?

We are reading, The Battle for Duncragglin ,by Andrew Van der Wal, and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

The Phantom TollboothImage via Wikipedia

We will discuss both books, but it is optional whether you choose to read both.

May God enlighten your week with wonderful reading and learning!

Blessings to you

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