By: Kelly, Dylan
In the subtext of his novel Hatchet's plot, Gary Paulsen addresses real-world issues, including the dangers of tornadoes and the negative effects of irritating a skunk. He presents sub textual commentary on each issue; he believes that tornadoes can be very destructive and sometimes life threatening. In addition, skunks can heavily affect one's eye sight.
What are Tornadoes and how do they Form?
Tornados are a rapidly spinning vortex that forms from a storm cloud that can sometimes appear with no warning. They have winds that can move up to 250 miles per hour. The largest and most dangerous types of tornadoes form from supercells. They need warm and cool air combining in a spiral motion in order for it to form. Large tornadoes can move up to 300 miles an hour on flat land. Scientists are doing their best to find the pattern of tornadoes but they are still to determine a tornadoes exact location.
"Tornadoes can destroy houses and other buildings, lift cars and people into the air, and throw objects around" (Gale). In the novel, the destructive tornado tore down many trees and also tore off Brian's shelter. The text states, "Tornadoes can occur with little to no warning" (Gale). In the middle of the night, a sudden tornado awakened Brian. Tornadoes can also last between seconds and hours. In this case, the tornado lasted around 10 minutes in the novel. "Tornadoes usually occur during the spring or summer." (Gale). In the book Hatchet, The tornado occurred during the middle of Brain's summer break.
What Can Tornadoes do?
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Usually, a tornado's wind creates this roaring, hissing noise. The novel states," It was wind, wind like the sound of a train, with a low belly roar of a train" (Paulsen 145). Usually, anybody under an unstable shelter during a tornado will suffer from injuries or even possibly death. The paragraph states, "He was taken in the back by some mad force and driven into the shelter on his face, slammed down into the pine branches of his bed. He felt like a rag, felt a ripping pain in his ribs again" (Paulsen 145).
What do Tornadoes Sound like?
Skunks can produce one of the worst smells on earth. They have a chemical based combination that is a complete and utter pain to get rid of. To launch this nightmare weapon they have nipple squinters on each side of their rear end. Both squinters can move independently like an anti-aircraft weapon. The scary part is they can shoot it accurately up to ten feet and they are probably going to hit their target right in the eye. So be careful and stay out of their range!
A Skunk's Spray
"First off, the main chemical weapons are sulfur-based compounds like the ones that make rotten eggs and flatulence nasty" (Smithsonian). In the novel, Brian is able to smell the skunks terrible stench. "Even scarier, these weapons are accurate up to 10 feet and skunks aim for the eyes" (Smithsonian). After his experience with the skunk, it is clear that it has good aim because it hit him right in the eyes. "Also they're veracious eaters of bugs and mice" (Smithsonian). This was very apparent because the skunk came right into his shelter and started to eat his food.
What can Skunks do?
In chapter 14 (when Brian was attacked by a skunk) it states that the skunk hit him in his eyes from less than 4 feet away (Paulsen 123). As we know, the skunk can accurately spray people in the eye from up to 10 feet away. So it is no stretch that the skunk could hit him from 4 feet. Additionally, the book states that Brian was temporarily blinded (Paulsen 123). We know from the previous articlesthat skunk spray can temporarily or permanently blind a person.
How did the Skunk Affect Brian?
As you can see in the chart above, tornadoes usually occur in June and July
Education, Learning and Research Resources Online - Gale. www.bing.com/cr?IG=A8193A1616DE46819B8375EA2B4730D9&CID=16DE04970A016E753A8708DA0BFC6F2F&rd=1&h=St_DTifwBDIIXqXyNKoPcABXLU-A5g8tAjFoifZZaAI&v=1&r=https://www.gale.com/&p=DevEx.LB.1,5175.1.
Smithsonian, Ask. “What Makes Skunks' Spray Smell so Terrible? @AskSmithsonian.” Smithsonian Tween Tribune, www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/what-makes-skunks-spray-smell-so-terrible/.
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Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Thorndike Press, a Part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018.