<b>The Limits of Violence: People and Property in Edward Abbey’s "Monkeywrenching" Novels</b> // Los límites de la violencia: La gente y la propiedad en las novelas "Monkeywrenching" de Edward Abbey

  • David Thomas Sumner Linfield College
Keywords: Edward Abbey, radical environmentalism, environmental ethics, eco-fiction, ecología radical, ética medioambiental, eco-ficción

Abstract

This paper explores Edward Abbey’s fiction asking what kind 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.

 

Resumen

 

            Este trabajo explora la ficción de Abbey cuestionando qué clase de imperativo ético ofrecen sus novelas "monkeywrenching" (de sabotaje). Mientras aboga por la destrucción de la propiedad en defensa de la naturaleza, The Monkey Wrench Gang también traza una distinción ética clara entre la destrucción de la propiedad en defensa de la naturaleza y el daño a la gente. Pero la secuela, Hayduke Lives!, desdibuja esta línea cuando un guardia muere durante la escena final de eco-sabotaje de la novela. Tras explorar las diversas explicaciones textuales posibles para este cambio aparente, y después de entrevistar a varios amigos de Abbey en relación a este asunto, el autor concluye que la variación no representa un cambiola visión del mundo de Abbey, sino más bien un cambio en las circunstancias de la ficción.

Author Biography

David Thomas Sumner, Linfield College

Linfield College, United States

dsumner@linfield.edu

David Sumner is associate professor of English and environmental studies at Linfield College.  He teaches courses in American Literature, philosophy and literature, American nature writing, and Western American Literature.  He also directs Linfield’s writing program.  Professor Sumner has published in the fields of American literature, literature and the environment, rhetoric, and writing pedagogy.  He has also published a series of interviews with contemporary nature writers such as Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, and David Quammen.  His work is particularly focused on the intersection between literature and ethics. When not teaching or writing, Professor Sumner likes to wander the wild places of the American West with his family and his fly rod.

Published
2013-09-30
Section
General Section 4.2 (Autumn 2013)