The Monkey Wrench Gang By Edward Abbey Essay

The Monkey Wrench Gang By Edward Abbey Essay

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The Monkey Wrench Gang, written by Edward Abbey, is a fictional piece of literature advocating environmental issues and radical anarchism. “We can have wilderness without freedom,” Abbey said. “We can have wilderness without human life at all; but we cannot have freedom without wilderness”(xvi). The Monkey Wrench Gang was set in 1975, after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. There was a new sense of environmental awareness in the seventies enforced by the Federal government, including The National Environmental Policy, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and the Water Pollution Control Act (wiki). Abbey spent a majority of his life defending and living for environmental justice of the American Southwest. The Monkey Wrench Gang begins with an introduction of four socially different people who seek environmental justice. These environmental activists Dr. Sarvis, Bonnie Azzbug, Hayduke, and Seldom Smith coincide in the American Southwest and are introduced on a river raft trip down the Colorado River. After discussing industrial growth and development in the environment, they collaborated a plan to destruct machinery at a construction site. Increasingly throughout the story each character transition toward more radical activism. The radically dangerous and violent crimes began slowly and progressed uncontrollably, leading toward a fall of the Monkey Wrench Gang. The reader is drawn into the intensity of the situations and the personalities of each individual as the adventure highlights socially and politically controversial issues. Abbey incorporated several themes within the book, such as Environment and the industry, the effect of industry on the environment, radical environmentalism, and social conflict between the ch...


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...ith wants the destruction of a dam to happen naturally so he prays to God saying, “All we need here, God, is one little precision earthquake”(158). Religion isn’t the only social factor amongst the group, but the Indian Culture is mentioned throughout the story as well. The aborigines are to blame for “not being relied on to do anything right”(188). In the small town of Page, AZ they try to “make Christians out of the Navajos”(162). When the monkey wrench gang is stopped at the National Monument the chief began asking questions about the incident and the chief believe the white people and exclaimed, “It was them…Them Goddamn Shoeshine Indians”(212). The Doc touches on the land of the Indians homes, grazing lands shrines and burial grounds being destroyed by the industrialism( 173). The seventies were filled with protests during the American Indian Movement (wiki).

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