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The Monkey Wrench Gang Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 58 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Monkey Wrench Gang.
This section contains 416 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Monkey Wrench Gang Study Guide

The Monkey Wrench Gang Summary & Study Guide Description

The Monkey Wrench Gang Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey.

Plot Summary

The Monkey Wench Gang, by Edward Abbey, is a novel that follows four characters through their adventures as they protest the destruction of the southwestern United States. Their adventures help all of them to discover who they really are and what they truly want in life.

On the surface, The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel about four characters and their fight to protest the industrialization and destruction of the southwestern landscape. On reading the novel, however, one finds the novel is much more about the characteristics of mankind, and how their environment and experiences alter those characteristics. Doc Sarvis is a heart surgeon with a thriving medical practice whose wife has died. He has a physical and emotional relationship with a woman half his age, Bonnie Abbzug, and has seen an increase in cancer in his patients due to the industrialization of the southwest. Doc, in his spare time, along with Abbzug, destroys billboards. Abbzug is a confused and lonely young woman who claims to loathe industrialization and who loves Doc but dreams of excitement and intrigue. Seldom Seen Smith, a river boat guide, is a polygamous Mormon whose livelihood depends on the wilderness. His hometown of Hite, Utah was buried underwater with the building of Glen Canyon Dam. George Hayduke, a Vietnam veteran, dreamed of the cleanliness of the canyons during his fourteen months as a POW, and came home to find much of it destroyed.

These four characters meet during a river boat trip and start a chaotic ride as the foursome protest construction, strip mining, logging, oil drilling, and other industrial operations. Their actions, however, become increasingly violent and dangerous, causing authorities to take notice and begin hunting them down. Led by Bishop Love, a Mormon with high political dreams and personal stakes in the industrialization of the area, the Search and Rescue team are never far behind. One by one, the foursome begins to question their own actions and their futures. Only Hayduke, filled with rage and anger, wishes to continue his quest, and seems untouchable. Loyalties are challenged and motives are questioned as the foursome find themselves pursued to the edges of the landscape. Eventually, Hayduke's spiral of anger and destruction, combined with Abbzug's personal confusions about love, Doc's own conscience, and Smith's love for his wife break the group apart, allowing authorities to capture them one by one. In the end, these four characters discover their true identities, their own strengths, their own weaknesses, and their own reasons for their beliefs.

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This section contains 416 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Monkey Wrench Gang Study Guide
The Monkey Wrench Gang from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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