This paper explores Edward Abbey’s fiction asking what kind of ethical imperative his monkeywrenching novels offer. While advocating the destruction of property in defense of wilderness, The Monkey Wrench Gang draws a clear ethical distinction between the destruction of property in defense of wilderness and the harming of people. Yet the sequel, Hayduke Lives!, blurs this ethical line when a security guard is killed during the novel’s final eco-sabotage scene. After exploring several possible textual explanations for this apparent change and then interviewing several of Abbey’s close friends regarding this issue, the author concludes that the shift does not represent a change in Abbey’s worldview, but rather a change in fictional circumstance.
David Thomas Sumner
The limits of violence: people and property in Edward Abbey's "Monkeywrenching" novels.
Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, 2013, volume 4, issue 2, pages 166-181
Sumner, David Thomas, "The Limits of Violence: People and Property in Edward Abbey's "Monkeywrenching" Novels" (2013). Faculty Publications. Published Version. Submission 5.