The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The three men in the gang are a diverse lot, apparently incorporating many aspects of the author’s character. Doc Sarvis is an overweight, middle-aged physician whose money finances the group’s activities. Although it is Doc who first proposes the idea of a serious assault on Glen Canyon Dam, he is also adamant that the group not injure or kill people but restrict themselves to the destruction of inanimate objects. He is motivated, in part, by years of watching people sick and dying from diseases related to pollution.

George Hayduke is the most broadly drawn character of the novel. The Vietnam veteran is a foul-mouthed alcoholic anarchist, skilled in survival tactics and guerrilla sabotage, the strongest of the group and the least concerned about the possibility of hurting people.

Seldom Seen Smith received his nickname from the fact that he has three wives in different Utah towns; and between visiting his three families and his absences related to his business guiding rafting trips, he is seldom seen by any of them. Smith is a good-hearted romantic who mourns the loss of the landscape with which he grew up, focusing his particular anger on Glen Canyon Dam, which buried trees, canyons, and towns when it was built to create Lake Powell. Symbolic of his protest, his business card lists Hite as the town in which he is located, despite the fact that Hite was buried in the creation of Lake Powell.

Bonnie Abzug, the lone female...

(The entire section is 456 words.)