The Monkey Wrench Gang: The Law breaking Heroes Essay example

The Monkey Wrench Gang: The Law breaking Heroes Essay example

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The Monkey Wrench Gang: The Law breaking Heroes


Everyone knows that breaking the law is bad and anybody who does is a criminal, but Edward Abbey author of The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), puts a twist on those thoughts. The Monkey Wrench Gang is an adventurous novel about a gang of environmentalists who set out to destroy bulldozers, bridges, cars, trains, signs or anything that is destroying their beautiful country, the American southwest. Through characterization and description Edward Abbey glorifies the art of law breaking and leaves his readers rooting for his heroic criminals.


In the Monkey Wrench Gang there are four main characters: Bonnie Abbzug, Doc Sarvis, Seldom Seen Smith and George Hayduke. As individuals they never become much of a threat but as a team the fire really begins to spread. Out of all these characters Hayduke is the most prominent idealist. Hayduke is a beer-guzzling, veteran of the Vietnam War who has a grudge against the American government. The rebellious slob, sick of the human civilization and their unappreciation for the desert, decides to join forces with the others to save the American Southwest from a wrongful death. "My job is to save the f@#*ing wilderness. I don't know anything else worth saving."-Hayduke (211).


Another member of the gang is the intelligent Doc Sarvis who is the money source in all the operations. Doc is a middle-aged doctor with a passion for the Southwest and for his assistant nurse named Bonnie Abbzug, another member of the gang. Bonnie is a 28-year-old woman in her prime who is a "close" friend of Doc. Before they join the gang they destruct several signs that post a threat to the Southwest. On the bumper of Doc's car is a bumper sticker t...

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... all the glorified destruction Abbey never stops praising the desert's subtle beauty and enchantment. In all of his descriptions Abbey paints a beautiful picture that feeds the minds of the readers. " The rolling waters shone like hammered metal, like bronze lamé, each facet reflecting mirror- fashion the blaze in the sky. While glowing dumbly in the east, above the red canyon walls, the new antiphonal response to the glory of the sun." (54).


A hero is easily defined as anyone who is admired for their courage, nobility, or exploits. Edward Abbey definitely made his characters heroes through description and character. Painting his scenery and characters with meaning and drawing his plot with adventure made the law breaking monkey wrench gang heroic savers of the American Southwest.

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

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