Nature in all its beauty, kindness and wilderness is very powerful; humans on the other hand are fragile beings who adapt and use instincts to survive against nature’s might and forces, it is their determination and perseverance that keeps them going. Therefore, humans possess innate survival skills. They have set some rules and try to live by them, some times while enforcing one’s will on someone they also act violently. It seems like human kind is programmed to survive. Perhaps the most obvious case is the flight-or-fight response coined by Harvard university physiologist Walter Cannon in 1915, “˜When humans are faced with danger or stress, a biological trigger helps us decide whether to stay and flight to get the heck out of there flight’ (Cannon 1915).
Most of Paulsen’s writings features the vital role of nature and how the leading characters are determined to survive the ordeal of living in the outdoors. In the hatchet Gary Paulsen writes about a 13-year-old ,strong — willed and positive boy, Brain Robeson who individually survived against nature’s wilderness for fifty four days. Brian was stranded in an island followed by a plane crash. The plane Cessna 406 was carrying Brian from New York to Canadian oil fields where his father worked. The plane crashes after the pilot dies of a heart attack. The young adolescent confronts hunger, wild animals and harsh weather. He acquires survival techniques and also develops as a human being which further proves that survival instincts are innate to human nature.
After the crash, Brian is injured with little food supply, he still believed that he will be rescued .He gets extremely sick after an attempt on eating strange berries. He spots a bear as well and later gets injured again when a porcupine enters his shelter and shoots its quills into Brian’s leg. He managed to build a fire by striking his hatchet against a stone, he feasted on turtle eggs. But the young boy lost all the hopes of being rescued when a plane flew by without seeing him leaving him devastated, as a result he attempted suicide by hitting himself with the hatchet but survives. After the experience he was determined to survive and come out as a winner. He learned to catch a fish and then caught a fool bird which was also his first meat on the island. While he was washing the bird in the lake he was attacked by a moose which resulted in ribs and shoulder injuries then a tornado rips across the woods which destroyed his shelter. Amidst all these chaotic events Brian learned to appreciate nature he thought that the tornado was beautiful and terrible. To Brian’s amazement the chaotic storm has riled up the water in the lake, and the tail of the plane was pretty visible. Brian constructed a raft to reach the plane and successfully retrieved a survival kit which contained countless useful items, some of which Brian rejects in favor of the self-sufficient methods that he has developed during his time in the wild. He also finds something labeled “Emergency Transmitter.” He fiddles with it but it appeared not to function. As Brian is preparing his much-anticipated meal, a plane lands on the lake to rescue a dumbfounded Brian sitting down to eat his freeze-dried meal.
The Hatchet completely explains that how human beings transform with the nature that is the natural habitat while going against the nature which is the natural humanity instincts.
The other story “˜Lord of the Flies’ is yet another illustration of the humans conflicting with nature and then transforming with nature. As it is often said, “˜necessity is the mother of invention’. It is also this necessity that turns a civilized person in to a savage. The children in the “˜Lord of the Flies’ at first go along with their nature and thus, played instead of working but later, the necessity of various needs to be fulfilled made these children to go against their innocent nature and thus, they eventually worked out things for themselves which transformed them in to leaders and/or savages from just children.
The conflict of human with the nature is the central idea of both the stories that is the Hatchet and the Lord of the Flies. Human nature has an evil aspect as well as a good aspect. Human Vs Nature is the constant struggle of a human being to conquer and control his evil side of nature and to put in to practice his good side of nature. It is also the nature of the humans to adapt to the changes in the environment. Before the civilized world, the man was a savage himself but with time he transformed in to a human. The nature is very powerful and unpredictable; therefore it is important to devise laws and regulations to control the evil aspect of human nature. The society and its laws force the man to control his evil side of nature and so, the man fights with his evil nature for the sake of the civilized world or otherwise the evil nature takes over which results in destruction.