This Independent Study analyzes both Henry David Thoreau and Edward Abbey’s comments on social relations to natural resources as well as the revolutionary purport of each writer’s works. It also investigates justifications for property violence in political action.

In the first chapter, I investigate Thoreau through a materialist analysis. I begin this investigation by looking at Thoreau’s Walden as well as his other essays in order to explain his comments on social relations to natural resources and the revolutionary purport of his work. In addition to this, I make an attempt to apply Thoreau to present day by considering his philosophy with respect to community gardens.

Following this chapter, I take up the same project with Edward Abbey by analyzing his book Desert Solitaire. In addition to this, I outline Abbey’s method for fixing improper social relations known as monkeywrenching by analyzing an account of the method found in his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. Upon the conclusion of this, I apply Abbey to present day by considering oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The third chapter involves a comparison of the Thoreau and Abbey’s political thought. It also attempts to justify property violence in political action in an attempt to address any issues with monkeywrenching.


Barnard, John

Second Advisor

Riley, Evan


English; Philosophy

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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