Brian’s Relationship to Fire -M.L., age 13
Brian is stranded in Canada, and after several nights of sheer cold and blood bloodsucking mosquitoes he has a dream. In this dream, his father and best friend Terry try to tell Brian the key is fire. Brian's first attempt to make fire by rubbing two sticks together hadn't worked out very well. But when Brian discovered the rock wall of his shelter was covered in flint, after accidentally hitting the wall with his hatchet, he had a way to make fire. Brian starts by making a small nest of tender for the spark to sit in, and after a few tries he gets a small flame. After feeding it, he sat down and thought, “I have a friend now. A hungry friend, but a good one. I have a friend named fire.” To Brian, fire was his only friend, who would help him cook, keep him warm, and most importantly, keep him safe. After almost letting the fire go out over night, Brian sees the fire is starving, just like him. When he goes to find wood and leaves the fireside, the mosquitoes tear at his skin. When he returns to the fireside, the mosquitoes are gone thanks to his friend “Fire.” Brian decides to make a feast for his friend, and he sets off to find wood. After building a pile of wood, he feeds the fire. He feeds his friend. To Brian, the fire was more than just a plain old fire; it was his friend, his cook, his protector. Brian took care of the fire, and the fire took care of Brian.
Fire for Brian -Y.L.M., age 11
Brian first thought about fire in a dream. He dreamt about his father telling him something, probably about fire, but Brian couldn’t hear him. Brian then dreams that his friend Terry is showing him a fire. Brian first tries to make fire by rubbing sticks together, but this does not work. Brian is attacked by a porcupine, and throws the hatchet at it but misses the animal. The hatchet hits a black rock, probably flint, that sparked.
Brian then builds what he called a fire “nest,” which is basically a small fire starter. It takes a long time for Brian to get enough sparks into the “nest” to start a fire. Once he starts the fire, he begins to talk to it, calling it his only friend. Fire is essential to Brian in the wilderness because it provides warmth, protection, and hope.
If Brian lost fire he would be in danger because fire was what he used for cooking, to keep predators away, and for heat and light in the night. For instance, when Brian lost fire after the tornado, he did not have cooked food or protection from wild animals and mosquitoes. Brian sees fire like a mother, as it gives him warmth and protection. If Brian had fire, he didn’t have to worry about predators as much as natural disasters.
After the tornado strikes, Brian finds the plane’s tail sticking out of the water. He will later venture into the plane and find many items, including a fire starter. Once he got the fire starter, it was easy to create fires, but also he felt he was cheating in some way. He really has no use for the lighter since right after he gets it a pilot finds him. Brian seemed to feel sad when he was able to use the lighter, as if just having it made him lose skills.
As Brian grows and learns in the story, he also learns more about fire and how to use it properly. For instance, when Brian catches a “fool bird” he finds a Y shaped stick for cooking the bird. Brian also used fire to keep predators and mosquitoes away. As time goes on Brian finds more efficient ways to use fire.
Hatchet Fire -C.P., age 12
Brain first mentions making a fire to cook a rabbit, but he has no rabbit and not much knowledge on how to actually make a fire. So, Brain slowly remembers TV shows and remembers having to make a nest for the flame. Brian makes a nest for the flame and gets a fire started. Brian was very obsessed with the fire. He called it his hungry, little friend. He never let the fire go out. I thought that he was almost insane. In my opinion, Brian was not going to stay sane if he didn't get a fire going.
Brian was getting very frustrated when he didn't make the fire the first two times. When Brian finally calmed down, he was able to remember the show better and build a better nest. After two or three times it still didn’t work, so he also used a twenty dollar bill that his mother had given him for food. After Brian finally had fire, he went out of his shelter and gathered wood for the fire. The fire was finally made, and Brain felt proud about what he had accomplished.
Brian also had a dream where he saw his father and friend. They seemed to try to tell him something, but he couldn't hear anything. Brian had finally made sense of the dream, and he started working on a fire. As Brian had finished the fire and his shelter, he was attacked by a moose. He was injured, so he limped back to his shelter.
When Brian heard a sound he didn't know, he lit his fire, and it seemed to help with him being scared. After that, a tornado hit his shelter. He immediately remade his shelter, and he remade his fire after he woke up. He ate a feast of food he salvaged out of the sunken plane. After that, he was rescued by a pilot, and he finally went back to a somewhat normal life.
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