Faculty Publications

Publication Date



American Literature


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.

Document Type

Published Version


This article is the publisher-created version, also considered to be the final version or the version of record. It includes value-added elements provided by the publisher, such as copy editing, layout changes, and branding consistent with the rest of the publication.

Original Citation

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



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