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Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas American Dream Essay Ideas



1. Introduction

Though Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is not a very well known name in the literarylandscape of Europe today, his work definitely reached a cult-like status. Ask young people between, let's say 15 and 40 years for any book or film on the topic of drugs ingeneral, and Thompson's “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” will definitely be among thetop answers. Every once-in-a-while-pot-smoker knows Thompson's psychedelic trip-report for its precise description of being high, stoned, drunk and whatever one can be. Itis popular for readers among several generations. Not least because of its renaissance in1998, when the book was made into a major Hollywood movie, starring some of today'smost popular actors (e.g. Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz and Tobey Maguire).Besides the mentioned book and his preceding debut, „Hell's Angels“, the rest of Thompson's work is quite unknown in Europe. And there is a reason for that: Thompsonmostly writes about typical American topics. Whether it is politics ("Fear & Loathing onthe Campaign Trail '72"), sports ("The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved") or culture ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"). Most people, reading "Fear and Loathing inLas Vegas", think it is just a exaggerated trip report of two coke-sniffing junkies in theearly seventies.Well, on the one hand, they are absolutely right. It definitely is one of the most precise descriptions of drug effects. The New York Times once called it “the best book onthe dope decade”


,but on the other hand, there is obviously much more to this piece of new American literature. Therefore it got included into the famous “Modern Library”


where it is now surrounded by classic literature from Tolstoy to F. Scott Fitzgerald.Thompson's beat, he once said was "the death of the American dream."


.This themecan be discovered throughout all of his work, especially in “Fear and Loathing in LasVegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”.The following thesis is going to shed light on the author of this book, as well as itsgenre and the special requirements coming with this. The main part is dedicated to thetheme of the American Dream in the book, and it will point out some relevant examplesfor various aspects of this theme. Finally there will be a conclusion, which will answer the big question of this thesis: Is the American Dream still alive?

1Woods, Crawford: The Best Book on the Dope Decade. From: The New York Times, 23.7.19722The American Modern Library is a prestigious publishing company for newer high-class americanliterature. In 1998 they started a poll to select the Best 20th-Century Novels (see Wikipedia to "ModernLibrary", accessed on 1.1.2010)3Weil, Martin; Lengel, Allan: Hunter S. Thompson dies at 67. From: The Washington Post, 21.2.2005

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The idea of the American Dream is it began as an idea people could thrive from, but became detrimental through corruption. Society’s necessity for material goods and money for personal happiness distorts the American dream. One’s morals will be compromised once one decides to live a life for the sole purpose of following a corrupted ideal. In Hunter S. Thompson’s literary work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his viewpoint of the American Dream is expressed. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, written by Hunter S. Thompson, expresses the decline of society’s morals due to materialistic needs. Thompson proves through symbolism and characterization that society‘s corrupted perception of the American Dream provokes an individual’s morals…show more content…

The wave symbolizes the beliefs people held in Las Vegas, to live each day as it comes and do anything to make themselves happy. The “wave” they rode broke in Las Vegas, illustrates society, which was living on a false belief of the American Dream; people finally saw the American Dream they lived by was hindering society by inciting individuals morals to decay. The fact that the “high-water mark” is seen in Las Vegas, emphasizes even in the city dedicated to the American Dream, not everyone can live life according to that mindset. The wave speech represents “...the high-water mark where the great wave of Cultural Revolution had broken and flowed back;” (Self 2) how the culture rapidly amplified, similarly to a wave, but inevitably receded after the philosophy collapsed. Las Vegas represents the American Dream, where society is depicted as corrupted due to following an immoral Dream.

Furthermore, Thompson uses the symbol of the Old Psychiatrist’s Club to show the determination of the American Dream. Duke and Dr. Gonzo are in the Northeast outskirts of Las Vegas searching for the American Dream. They come across a diner where a waitress and chef give them information about uncovering the American

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