"Hatchet," Vocabulary from Chapter 9-12

Gary Paulsen's "Hatchet" is a story about teaching yourself all the skills you need to manage in an unforgiving environment.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-12, Chapters 13-16, and Chapters 17-19&Epilogue.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. ignite
    cause to start burning
    Clearly there had to be something for the sparks to ignite, some kind of tinder or kindling—but what?
  2. exasperation
    a feeling of annoyance
    He settled back on his haunches in exasperation, looking at the pitiful clump of grass and twigs.
  3. clump
    a grouping of a number of similar things
    He settled back on his haunches in exasperation, looking at the pitiful clump of grass and twigs.
  4. limp
    walk impeded by some physical injury
    He put the hatchet back in his belt and went out of the shelter, limping on his sore leg.
  5. register
    enter into someone's consciousness
    Not twenty feet to his right, leaning out over the water were birches and he stood looking at them for a full half-minute before they registered on his mind.
  6. pluck
    pull lightly but sharply
    Brian plucked some of them loose, rolled them in his fingers.
  7. flammable
    easily ignited
    They seemed flammable, dry and nearly powdery.
  8. painstaking
    characterized by extreme care and great effort
    It was painstaking work, slow work, and he stayed with it for over two hours.
  9. quantity
    the concept that something has a magnitude
    It wasn’t quantity, there were plenty of sparks, but they needed more.
  10. gratify
    make happy or satisfied
    Working as fast as he could he carefully placed the dried grass and wood pieces he had tried at first on top of the bark and was gratified to see them take.
  11. squat
    sit on one's heels
    These he threw in die shelter, went back for more, threw those in, and squatted to break and feed the hungry flames.
  12. interior
    inside and toward a center
    It was so precious to him, so close and sweet a thing, the yellow and red flames brightening the dark interior of the shelter, the happy crackle of the dry wood as it burned, that he could not leave it.
  13. stock
    a supply of something available for future use
    And so he sat through a long part of the day, keeping the flames even, eating from his stock of raspberries, leaving to drink from the lake when he was thirsty.
  14. eddy
    a miniature whirlpool or whirlwind
    When he was in the shade of the trees breaking limbs the mosquitos swarmed on him, as usual, but when he came to the fire, or just near the shelter where die smoke eddied and swirled, the insects were gone.
  15. interval
    a definite length of time marked off by two instants
    He had to be sure to try and sleep in short intervals so he could keep die fire going, and he tried to think of a way to regulate his sleep but it made him sleepy to think about it and he was just going under again when he heard the sound outside.
  16. demand
    request urgently and forcefully
    His stomach tightened and rolled and made noise as he looked at the eggs, as if his stomach belonged to somebody else or had seen die eggs with its own eyes and was demanding food.
  17. dormant
    inactive but capable of becoming active
    The hunger, always there, had been somewhat controlled and dormant when there was nothing to eat but with the eggs came the scream to eat.
  18. crave
    have an appetite or great desire for
    His whole body craved food with such an intensity that it quickened his breath.
  19. fussy
    exacting especially about details
    As his stomach moved toward his backbone he became less and less fussy.
  20. native
    an indigenous person who was born in a particular place
    Some natives in the world ate grasshoppers and ants and if they could do that he could get a raw egg down.
  21. convulse
    contract involuntarily, as in a spasm
    His throat tried to throw it back up, his whole body seemed to convulse with it, but his stomach took it, held it, and demanded more.
  22. staggering
    so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm
    He had decided to always have enough on hand for three days and after spending one night with the fire for a friend he knew what a staggering amount of wood it would take.
  23. assume
    take to be the case or to be true
    There was no pain there so he assumed that had taken care of itself.
  24. source
    the place where something begins
    He would swing and look at it—a breaking twig, a movement of air—and know die sound as if he somehow could move his mind back down the wave of sound to the source.
  25. comprise
    include or contain
    He moved to the top of the rock ridge that comprised the bluff over his shelter and was pleased to find a large, flat stone area.
  26. initially
    at the beginning
    Initially he had thought of making a signal fire every day but he couldn’t—he would never be able to keep die wood supply going.
  27. overlook
    have a view of something from above
    At the last trip to the top of the stone bluff with wood he stopped, sat on the point overlooking die lake, and rested.
  28. gnarled
    old and twisted and covered in lines
    At die other end of the bottom of the L there was another large rock sticking out over die water and on top of the rock a snag- gly pine had somehow found food and grown, bent and gnarled.
  29. emerge
    come out into view, as from concealment
    It emerged a split part of a second later.
  30. lure
    provoke someone to do something through persuasion
    He had no hooks or string but if he could somehow lure them into the shallows—and make a spear, a small fish spear—he might be able to strike fast enough to get one.
  31. taper
    the property of a shape that narrows toward a point
    Then, propping die hatchet in a crack in the rock wall, he had pulled the head of his spear against it, carving a thin piece off each time, until the thick end tapered down to a needle point.
  32. effective
    producing or capable of producing an intended result
    It was crude, but it looked effective and seemed to have good balance when he stood outside die shelter and hefted the spear.
  33. motive
    causing or able to cause motion
    He needed something to spring the spear forward, some way to make it move faster than the fish—some motive force.
  34. primitive
    characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
    Maybe that was how it really happened, way back when—some primitive man tried to spear fish and it didn’t work and he “invented” the bow and arrow.
  35. swivel
    turn on a pivot
    He put all of his life into his legs, jumped logs and moved through brush like a light ghost, swiveling and running, his lungs filling and blowing and now the sound was louder, coming in his direction.

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