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The Monkey Wrench Gang Essay - Critical Essays

The Monkey Wrench Gang Essay - Critical Essays

The Monkey Wrench Gang is the most popular and best known of Edward Abbey’s novels and essays. In the two decades after its publication, it sold more than half a million copies. Abbey’s previous book, Desert Solitaire (1968), was a collection of essays lamenting the insults to nature he had witnessed while working in the desert, and The Monkey Wrench Gang is its fictionalized follow-up, in which he fantasizes revenge on the despoilers of the desert. In truth, the book is not quite fantasy: Abbey has admitted to toppling billboards and disabling heavy machinery, and at least two of his characters—Seldom Seen Smith and George Hayduke—are strongly based on friends of Abbey. Although Abbey is sometimes referred to as a twentieth century Henry David Thoreau for his devotion to the wilderness, neither the author nor his monkeywrenchers are icons of the simple life, with their fast cars and habit of tossing beer cans onto the highway—an act Abbey justifies by observing that highways are already a desecration and do not deserve better treatment.

The Monkey Wrench Gang has become a virtual totem for the radical ecologist movement. The Earth First! group has credited Abbey as an inspiration, and he has openly advocated subversive methods in defense of the environment. Yet the book does not present its characters as victorious; they are captured and subdued, although waiting to rise again. In fact, his characters’ actions cause the establishment to intensify its efforts to proceed with its subjugation of the wilderness and to direct its power to eviscerating the movement. At the end of the book, the four monkey wrenchers are reunited, presumably to fight again. However, there is little reason to believe that they will be any more successful in the long run than they were before, despite the optimism of the prologue.

Start your free trial with eNotes to access more than 30,000 study guides. Get help with any book. The Monkey Wrench Gang Homework Help Questions The Monkey Wrench Gang is the story of four political dissidents who turn to radical means to try to achieve enviromental change.As the novel opens, we are introduced to two characters, Doc and.
  • On one level, the environmental message that emerges from The Monkey Wrench Gang can be seen as relevant. There is still a desire to industrialize at the cost of environmental protection. The.
  • The main characters in Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang are Doc Sarvis and his young assistant/girlfriend Bonnie Abzug; “Seldom Seen” Smith, a polygamist river guide; and George Hayduke.

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    The Monkey Wrench Gang

    The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)

    This well-known book is a fictional account of 4 "environmental warriors" liberating parts of Utah and Arizona from evil road-builders, miners and rednecks. The book fueled a new generation of angry young environmentalists (such as Earth First! ) practicing monkey-wrenching. sabotage for the sake of protecting the wilderness.

    I recommend you to get the Dream Garden edition which has really cool illustrations by celebrated cartoonist and satirist Robert Crumb (see the cover below).

    This edition was first published in 1985 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original publication and was soon sold out, but a reprint came in 1990 with additional illustrations by Crumb from the 1987 Monkey Wrench Gang Calendar . It also contains the previously deleted chapter "Seldom Seen At Home".

    Cover text

    The bridge, bedecked with bunting streamers and Day Glo banners was ready. The throng prepared to unloose a cheer or two. Suddenly the center of the bridge rose up and broke in two along a zigzag line. A sheet of read flame streamed skyward.

    "This is their last stunt, Governor. We're on their tail, sir. We have a good idea who they are, how they operate, and what they're planning next."

    Reviews

    "A sad, hilarious, exuberant, vulgar fairy tale. it'll make you want to go out and blow up a dam" -- The National Observer

    "Since the publication of the The Monkey Wrench Gang, Mr. Abbey has become an underground cult hero." -- The New York Times

    "One of the very best writers to deal with the American west." -- The Washington Post

    "A real romp" -- Saturday Review

    "Ribald, outrageous and, in fact, scandalous" -- Smithsonian

    "The Monkey Wrench Gang is a laconic comedy played out in a vast open space Abbey loves an knows well" -- Newsweek

    "Mixes comedy and chaos with enough chase sequences to leave you hungering for more." -- San Fransisco Examiner & Chronicle

    "Edward Abbey is a writer one would not want to miss." -- The Washington Post

    "It's a wildly funny, infinitely wise, near to tragic tale of man against the big god machine -- man against concrete, steel, man-made lakes and parking-lot wastelands. Flawlessly constructed, imaginatively detailed, faultlessly crafted with every effect looped to its matching cause, it's a scriptwriter's dream. What a thing of beauty is Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang." -- Houston Chronicle

    "Destroying eyesores is simply another way of creating beauty, and Edward Abbey's dedicated crew are masters of this particular Renaissance. Of course, what the Monkey Wrench Gang does is outrageous, un-American and inimical to the sacred concept of property, and I thoroughly condemn them. If unchecked, they may even start dumping tea in Boston harbor. " -- Richard Bradford, author of Red Sky at Morning

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    Reader comments Library of Congress Data

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    StateMaster - Encyclopedia: The Monkey Wrench Gang

    The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927 -1989 ), published in 1975. Image File history File links EdwardAbbey_TheMonkeyWrenchGang. Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 - March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority. A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative in prose. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins is an academic medical publisher, founded in 1792 and now part of the Wolters Kluwer group. A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. Hayduke Lives is a sequal to Edward Abbeys extremely popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang. A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative in prose. An author is the person who creates a written work, such as a book, story, article or the like. Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 - March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday.


    The novel concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest. and was so influential that the term "monkeywrench " has come to mean, besides sabotage and damage to machines, any violence, sabotage, activism, law-making, or law-breaking to preserve wilderness, wild spaces and ecosystems. Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. Devils Punchbowl Waterfall, New Zealand. The Southwest region of the United States is drier than the adjoining Midwest in weather; the population is less dense and, with strong Spanish-American and Native American components, more ethnically varied than neighboring areas. Monkeywrenching is economic warfare by sabotage, often by illegal means, used to slow down or halt an undesired government-sanctioned activity.

    Contents Plot summary

    Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

    Easily Abbey's most famous fiction work, the book's four main characters are ecologically-minded misfits — a Jack Mormon river guide, a surgeon, his young assistant, and a rather eccentric Green Beret Vietnam veteran. George Hayduke. Together, though not always working as a tightly-knit team, they form the titular group dedicated to the destruction of what they see as the system that pollutes and destroys their environs, the American West. As their attacks on deserted bulldozers and trains continue, the law closes in. The term Jack Mormon is a pejorative term that originated in the 19th century. A US Special Forces operator in Afghanistan The United States Army Special Forces —also known by the nickname Green Berets or simply Special Forces (capitalized)— is a Special Operations Force of the U.S. Army trained for unconventional warfare and special operations. Vietnam veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War. George Washington Hayduke is an ex-Green Beret, one-time explosives expert and medical assistant to the Viet Cong, American environmentalist hero, and fictional character in Edward Abbeys successful novels The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives! The character of Hayduke was loosly based on Doug Peacock who was. The Western United States, also referred to as the American West or simply The West, traditionally refers to the region constituting the westernmost states of the United States (see geographical terminology section for further discussion of these terms).

    Dream Garden Press hardcover edition with a cover illustration by Robert Crumb

    The book was praised for its erudition, flair, down-home wit, and the accuracy of its descriptions of life away from civilization (Abbey made the West his home and was a skilled outdoorsman). Image File history File links The-monkey-wrench-gang. Image File history File links The-monkey-wrench-gang. Self-portrait.


    Interestingly from a 21st-century viewpoint, the Gang in some ways bears little resemblance to the modern media's portrayal of environmentalists — they eat lots of red meat, own firearms, drink beer (and litter the roadside with empty cans), drive big cars, etc. (Abbey's habits were reportedly similar). Also, Abbey's politics are not "bleeding heart" (as the characters dismiss liberalism ): they attack Indians as well as whites for their consumerism, hold little regard for the Sierra Club. etc. Political Liberalism is an update to John Rawls 1971 Theory of Justice in which Rawls attempts to show that his theory of justice is not a comprehensive conception of the good, but is instead compatible with a liberal conception of the role of justice: namely, that government should be neutral. The Sierra Club is an American environmental organization founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist John Muir, who became its first president.


    The Gang sees the 'enemy' as those who would develop the American Southwest: despoiling the land, befouling the air, and destroying Nature and the sacred purity of Abbey's desert world. The greatest hatred is focused on the Glen Canyon Dam. a monolithic edifice of concrete that dams a beautiful, wild river, and which the monkeywrenchers seek to destroy. Indeed, one of the book's most memorable scenes is that of Abbey's character Seldom Seen Smith. as he kneels atop the dam praying for a "pre-cision earthquake" to remove the "temporary plug" of the Colorado River. Glen Canyon Dam on 19 June 2005. Seldom Seen Smith is a character in the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang by author Edward Abbey. Colorado River in the Grand Canyon from Desert View The Colorado River is a river in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately 1,450 mi (2,333 km) long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.


    The book may have been the inspiration for Dave Foreman 's creation of Earth First!. a direct action environmental organization that often advocates much of the minor vandalism depicted in the book. Many scenes of vandalism and ecologically-motivated mayhem, including a billboard burning at the beginning of the book and the use of caltrops to elude pursuing police, are presented in sufficient detail as to form a skeletal how-to for would-be sabatoeurs. Dave Foreman (born 1947) is a US environmentalist and co-founder of the radical environmental movement Earth First! The son of a US Air Force career officer, as a young man Foreman was influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand and supported the Vietnam War. Monkey wrench and stone hammer, group symbol Earth First! is a radical environmentalist movement, pioneered in the early 1980s by Arizona desert activists Dave Foreman, Mike Roselle, Howie Wolke, Bart Koehler, and others. Direct action is a form of political activism which seeks immediate remedy for perceived ills, as opposed to indirect actions such as electing representatives who promise to provide remedy at some later date. Caltrop with hollow spikes to puncture self-sealing rubber tires Contemporary caltrop improvised from large nails welded together.


    The book begins with a prologue of the quartet blowing up the bridge below the Glen Canyon Dam.

    Literary significance & criticism

    From the National Observer . "A sad, hilarious, exuberant, vulgar fairy tale. It'll make you want to go out and blow up a dam." The National Observer was a weekly national newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company from 1962 until 1977.


    From the New York Times . "Since the publication of The Monkey Wrench Gang. Mr. Abbey has become an underground cult hero." The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide.


    From the Washington Post . "One of the best writers to deal with the American West.".


    From the Houston Chronicle . "What a thing of beauty is Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang." The Houston Chronicle is a daily newspaper in Houston, Texas, United States.

    Sequel
    • Hayduke Lives - Continuing the story from where The Monkey Wrench Gang left off.

    Hayduke Lives is a sequal to Edward Abbeys extremely popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang.

    Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

    A film adaptation of the book, to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. is being planned. Catherine Harwicke (born October 21, 1955 in McAllen, Texas) is a Hollywood, production designer and film director.

    Other works
    • See Edward Abbey for a detailed list of Abbey's other works.

    Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 - March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies.

    References in other media
    • "Monkeywrenchers" conduct sabotage against loggers in The X-Files season 1 episode Darkness Falls

    The X-Files is an American television series created by Chris Carter. List of epsiodes from the television show The X-Files, with plot synopses for each episode.

    External links

    Categories: 1975 novels | American novels | Anarchist fiction | Environmental fiction books | Portrayals of Mormons in popular media

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    Monkey Wrench Gang Essays - Character Development in Edward Abbey s The Monkey Wrench Gang

    Character Development in Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang

    Character Development in Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang


    Search and Rescue, Utah State Police, and Bishops of the Church of Latter-Day Saints chase a group of bridge destroying, billboard burning, bulldozer mutilating eco-terrorists through the desert of the Southwest. The group known as the Monkey Wrench Gang consists of four very different characters: Seldom Seen Smith, also known as Joseph Smith, George Washington Hayduke, Doctor A. K. Sarvis, and Bonnie Abbzug. Each character has his own opinion of why nature needs to be saved. The group decides to make their mark on nature by "taking care" of the different machines, roads and bridges that are destroying it. With all the destruction the gang is causing, being caught is expected. However, the gang narrowly escapes the law numerous times. After finally giving in to the pressures of being good citizens and serving time in jail for destroying public property, the gang reunites for their final destructive mission: Glen Canyon Dam. Edward Abbey, author of The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), uses language, appearances, actions an.


    . middle of paper.


    . denly. Doc, Bonnie and Hayduke stumble into his rear like the Three Stooges, three clowns in a silent movie" (336).

    While reading The Monkey Wrench Gang, many images appear in one?s mind. The uses of Edward Abbey?s skill of developing characters through language, appearance, actions and opinions make this novel more enjoyable to read. The shaping of each character persuades the reader to believe that, "Oh my desert, yours is the only death I cannot bear."

    Abbey, Edward. The Monkey Wrench Gang. 1975. New York: Avon Books.


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    2. User-Submitted Material
    You agree not to submit any unlawful, abusive, defamatory, harassing, obscene, or otherwise objectionable Material of any kind, including but not limited to Material that would constitute a criminal offense, violate the rights of others, or violate the laws or regulations of the United States or other jurisdiction. You agree not to submit any Material that infringes on any intellectual property rights of another, including but not limited to copyright and trademark. You agree not to submit any Material that you have reason to believe is false, misleading, or fraudulent, or contains private information about an identifiable person without that person.s written permission. You remain solely responsible for, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, against any claim arising from any Material you submit as well as Material submitted by a third party using your computer or IP address.

    Any Material you submit to the Web Site is and will be treated as non-confidential and non-proprietary. The Company has no obligation of any kind with respect to submitted Material. The Company reserves the right, but has no obligation, to remove, edit, or reject any Material it deems inappropriate. You agree that modification of the Material by the Company or its agents does not transfer ownership of said Material.

    You warrant that the Material submitted is original, has not been previously licensed or submitted to another Web Site or entity, and that you own the proprietary rights to said Material, including copyright, trademark, and patent rights as applicable, or the express written authority of the owner(s) of said rights to use and license the Material. You retain all patent, trademark, and copyright to any Material submitted. You further warrant that you have all rights, power, and authority necessary to claim and grant the license conveyed herein to the submitted Material. By submitting Material to the Web Site, you agree to grant the Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, a worldwide, irrevocable, nonexclusive, perpetual, royalty-free right (including moral rights) and license to copy, modify, translate, publish, disclose, transfer, assign, sell, and distribute said Material in any form now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose without limitation, and without any obligation of notice, attribution, or compensation to you or another.

    3. Company's Liability
    The Material on the Web Site contains inaccuracies and typographical errors. The Company makes no representations or guarantees about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results obtained from using the Web Site or the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Web Site, the Material, and the results obtained from using the Web Site or Material is entirely at your own risk. We reserve the right to make periodic changes to the Web Site, and these changes may be made at any time without notice. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

    The Company does not warrant that the Web Site will operate error-free or that the Web Site or its server is free of computer viruses or other harmful goods. If your use of the Web Site or its Material results in a need to repair or replace equipment or data, you are solely responsible for those costs.

    The Web Site and its Material are provided on an as-is and as-available basis without warranty express or implied. The Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, licensees, suppliers, and any third parties mentioned at this site, to the fullest extent permitted by law, disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

    No information, whether oral or written, provided by the Company or through the Web Site shall create any warranty not expressly stated in the Terms.

    4. Disclaimer
    IN NO EVENT SHALL the Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, licensees, SUPPLIERS, OR ANY THIRD PARTIES MENTIONED AT THIS SITE BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, INCIDENTAL AND CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, LOST PROFITS, OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM LOST DATA OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) RESULTING FROM THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE WEB SITE AND/OR THE MATERIAL, WHETHER BASED ON WARRANTY, CONTRACT, TORT, OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY, AND WHETHER OR NOT THE COMPANY IS ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

    5. Links to Other Web Sites
    The Web Site contains links to third party Web sites maintained by others. These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement by the Company of the contents on such third-party Web sites. The Company is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations on the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web sites. The Company has no control over such sites, and you agree that the Company is not responsible for the availability of such external sites. The Company does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any Material on or available from external sites. You agree that the Company is not responsible or liable, whether directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of any external site. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do so at your own risk.

    6. Limitation of Liability
    Your use of the Web Site is at your own risk. If you are dissatisfied with any of the Materials or other contents of the Web Site or with these Terms and Conditions, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue use of the Web Site.

    Under no circumstances shall the Company or its agents be liable to any user on account of that user's use of the Web Site. Such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of any and all damages, including, without limitation, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, punitive and exemplary damages arising from any use of the Web Site, including any damages that may be incurred by third parties.

    7. Indemnity
    You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Company, its officers, directors, owners, members, employees, agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, from and against any claims, actions, or demands, including without limitation reasonable legal and accounting fees, alleging or resulting from your use of the Material or your breach of the TOS, from any claim arising from any Material that you submit, or your violation of any rights of another, including but not limited to intellectual property rights.

    8. User Information
    The Company may use the information it obtains relating to you, including your IP address, name, e-mail address, mailing address, and use of the Web Site, if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such retention, preservation and/or disclosure is reasonably necessary: (a) to respond to any legal process or third party claims; (b) to enforce these TOS; (c) to protect the rights, property or personal safety of the Company, its agents, its users and the public; or (d) for business and/or marketing purposes.

    Your personal information will be treated in compliance with our Privacy Policy. You agree to the use of your data in accordance with the Company.s Privacy Policy. 9. Content
    You agree that by using the Web Site, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, or objectionable. You use the Web Site at your own risk. You further agree that the Company is not responsible for any Material you transmit or display while using the Web Site.

    10. Minors
    This Web Site contains material that may not be appropriate for minors. If there is concern by parents that children may visit this site, the Company recommends using a parental control software package. While no parental software package replaces careful supervision of Internet use by children, these tools can be a useful addition to your suite of Internet applications.

    11. Notification of Claimed Copyright Infringement
    If you find Material on the Web Site which you believe to be an infringement of copyright or other intellectual property rights of you or any third party, you are requested to immediately notify us as described below in accordance with the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act. To report any alleged infringement, please email us with the following information:

    1. your name, address, telephone number, and email address; and if you are representing the owner of the intellectual property, the name of the owner 2. a detailed description of the Material that you claim has been infringed; including the URL where said material is located on the Web Site, or a description of where you found such material on our Web Site; 3. if your claim is based on a registered work, the registration number and date of issuance of the registration; 4. a statement that you believe, in good faith, that the use of the Material on our Web Site has not been authorized by the true owner of the work, its agent, or as a matter of law; and 5. a signed statement, made under penalty of perjury, that all of the information you have provided is true, and that you are the owner of the intellectual property or are authorized to act on behalf of the owner

    12. General
    The Company makes no claims the Materials are appropriate for any particular purpose or audience, or that they may be downloaded outside of the United States. Access to the Materials may not be legal by certain persons or in certain countries. The Company is not responsible for any damages, claims or injuries that may result from unlawful or inappropriate access to the materials. If you access the Web Site from outside of the United States, you do so at your own risk and are responsible for compliance with the laws of any appropriate jurisdiction.

    All legal issues arising from or related to the use of the Web Site shall be construed in accordance with and determined by the laws of the state of the Company applicable to contracts entered into and performed within the state of the Company. By using this Web Site, you agree that the exclusive forum for any claims or causes of action arising out of your use of this Web Site is the court governing the county in which the Company is registered. You hereby irrevocably waive any objection that you may have to the venue of any such proceeding brought in such a court and any claim that any such proceeding brought in such a court has been brought in an inconvenient forum.

    If any provision of the TOS is found to be invalid by any court having competent jurisdiction, or invalid under the laws of the governing jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the TOS, which shall remain in full force and effect. No waiver of any term of the TOS shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such term or any other term. Failure to enforce any provision of the TOS does not constitute a waiver for future enforcement of said TOS.

    You agree that irrespective of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action stemming from or connected to use of the Web Site or the TOS shall be filed within one year after such claim or cause of action arose, or be forever barred.Your browser may not support display of this image.

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