Leibniz-Gymnasium Altdorf


Abiturjahrgang 2010

aus dem Englischen

The American Dream in Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

Verfasser: Leistungskurs: Kursleiter:

Moritz Stückler Englisch 1 LAss H. Bartels

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Table of Contents
1. Introduction...................................................................................................................3 2. Background Knowledge................................................................................................4 2.1. Gonzo Journalism....................................................................................................4 2.2. Biography of Hunter S. Thompson..........................................................................5 2.3. The American Dream in General.............................................................................9 2.4. Summary of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas........................................................10 2.5. Autobiographical Aspects......................................................................................10 3. Analysis of the American Dream-Theme...................................................................12 3.1. A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream........................................12 3.2. Las Vegas as a last Resort for the American Dream..............................................13 3.3. Drugs as a Catalyst to examine the American Dream...........................................13 3.4. Symbols for the American Dream throughout the Book.......................................14 3.5. Disrespect of any Authority...................................................................................16 4. Conclusion....................................................................................................................19 5. Bibliography.................................................................................................................20 5.1. Primary Sources.....................................................................................................20 5.2. Secondary Sources.................................................................................................20 6. Author's Declaration of Originality...........................................................................22

Thompson is not a very well known name in the literary landscape of Europe today. In 1998 they started a poll to select the Best 20th-Century Novels (see Wikipedia to "Modern Library". sports ("The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved") or culture ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"). Every once-in-a-while-pot-smoker knows Thompson's psychedelic tripreport for its precise description of being high. starring some of today's most popular actors (e. Lengel. which will answer the big question of this thesis: Is the American Dream still alive? 1 Woods. there is obviously much more to this piece of new American literature. The New York Times once called it “the best book on the dope decade”1. Ask young people between. he once said was "the death of the American dream. when the book was made into a major Hollywood movie. Thompson's beat.2005 . It is popular for readers among several generations. especially in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”. Cameron Diaz and Tobey Maguire). Johnny Depp. Not least because of its renaissance in 1998. From: The New York Times. Introduction Though Dr.2010) 3 Weil. Hunter S. Martin. as well as its genre and the special requirements coming with this. Well. It definitely is one of the most precise descriptions of drug effects. Finally there will be a conclusion. The main part is dedicated to the theme of the American Dream in the book. 23. „Hell's Angels“. Most people. and Thompson's “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” will definitely be among the top answers.3 1. The following thesis is going to shed light on the author of this book. This theme can be discovered throughout all of his work. accessed on 1. From: The Washington Post.1972 2 The American Modern Library is a prestigious publishing company for newer high-class american literature. reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". And there is a reason for that: Thompson mostly writes about typical American topics.7. Allan: Hunter S. his work definitely reached a cult-like status. on the one hand. think it is just a exaggerated trip report of two coke-sniffing junkies in the early seventies. let's say 15 and 40 years for any book or film on the topic of drugs in general. the rest of Thompson's work is quite unknown in Europe. Besides the mentioned book and his preceding debut. Scott Fitzgerald.g. Crawford: The Best Book on the Dope Decade. and it will point out some relevant examples for various aspects of this theme.2. 21. but on the other hand. Thompson dies at 67. stoned.1. Therefore it got included into the famous “Modern Library”2 where it is now surrounded by classic literature from Tolstoy to F. Whether it is politics ("Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72"). drunk and whatever one can be. they are absolutely right." 3.

so much like Horatio Alger.4 2. that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. He seemed so allAmerican. In terms of journalism Thompson was never mainstream.. Because at first hand Hunter S. the words would be final[. The book doesn't fit into any common description of literature. From: Rolling Stone. no editing. that "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was supposed to be pure Gonzo: "My idea was to buy a fat notebook and record the whole thing. there are two key features. Though it is hard to define this genre. The writing would be selective & necessarily interpretive--but once the image was written..1. no cutting or cropping.which is true. − Loss of objectivity: Where a classical journalist always tries to stay neutral. 16. page 106 ."5 4 Thompson. who used to be one of his greatest opponents and at the same time a reappearing topic to write about throughout his entire life: "Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -. Later he said. Kicking Nixon while he’s up.. which differs very much apart from common definitions of good journalistic work. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. Thompson always used to be a journalist.: He Was a Crook. one has to look at the Genre of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” to understand what the author wanted to say.1994 5 GSH. when he wrote the following in an obituary for Richard Nixon. Issue 684. today called “Gonzo” or “Gonzo Journalism”. He had his own definition of journalism.]No alterations in the darkroom. and not a writer. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. Gonzo writers definitely describe situations through their own eyes. no spotting . but he is in the midst of it. He created his own style. This is what Thompson is still known for today. but they miss the point.. as it happened. when he wrote this piece. Gonzo Journalism More than at any other book. Background Knowledge 2. That way. and the shock of recognition was often painful."4 This also explains the use of strong language Thompson uses in his writing. Hunter S. then send in the notebook for publication--without editing. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly.6. I felt. which can be found in all works which are supposed to be "Gonzo": − The author puts himself into the action. Hunter made this clear. the eye & mind of the journalist would be functioning as a camera. He is no longer just describing a situation.

to make it even clearer. that this book is a travelogue. page 14 . wanting to understand Gonzo texts.5 Regarding these plans. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. for no particular reason. Thompson Gonzo Journalism is deeply connected to its author. "Fear and Loathing" was a failed experiment.. Hunter Stockton Thompson was born on July 18th 1937 in Louisville. I've decided to call Gonzo Journalism. is necessary. to amplify his intention.8 Regarding his talent and obsession about writing. Thompson made several changes to the actual course of actions and made some things up. because it describes the savage journey of two people. Though it has a true core and most of it is a correct documented travelogue. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is not entirely fictional! Most of what is described in this book actually happened to Hunter S. Because of this. Kentucky. Chestertown. that Thompson got accepted into the prestigious Athenaeum Literary Association at the Age 6 GSH. page 106 8 after Knox. Peter W. He wrote afterwards: "and in the end I found myself imposing an essentially fictional framework on what began as a piece of straight/crazy journalism. He grew up in a lower middle-class family. while writing the jacket text for the Vegas-book: "and from here on in there is no point in running down details. But. Maryland 2006. and this qualifier is the essence of what. which actually happened. on the other hand. Consequently one should know the author really well. it is not entirely based on real events. because he had to edit the book and make changes. Senior Thesis. because he is describing situations through his very own eyes. His talent of writing could already be seen at the age of 10.: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. Therefore some people might also say. a quite extensive look into the life of Hunter Thompson. This is where he wipes out genre-borders. Thompson sums it up very nicely. because they're all in the book. More or less."6 With these measures he erases the border between literature and journalism or one could say between fiction and reality. page 106 7 GSH. it was no surprise. called “The Southern Star”. Thompson himself. Biography of Hunter S. which did not happen at all or in another way. Washington College. when he started a small neighborhood sports-newspaper. he added fictional elements.2. It is a style of "reporting" based on [the] idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism"7 2..

He was stealing. where he got to cover sports for the Base's Newspaper. and his mother had to take care for him and his two brothers entirely on her own. this airman. Air Force. He started writing his first novels and short stories. Hunter was “charged as an accessory to robbery after having been in a car with the person who committed the robbery. along with all side-effects such as heavy drug use. Also his father did use corporal punishment on Hunter and his brothers quite frequently. although talented will not be guided by policy. witnessing beatings. In 1958 he was honorably discharged. In 1963 Hunter married Sandra Dawn Conklin. who became a colleague of Hunter at the Rolling Stone magazine. At the age of 17. Both. After 30 days.2. Peter W.6 of 15.”11.”10. Hunter Thompsons' success finally started in 1965. The young family moved to California and Thompson started to immerse in the whole 1960s culture and hippie movement taking place in San Francisco. Chestertown. after accusing him of having mere financial 9 Knox. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. vandalizing and playing evil pranks on people while he still was a teenager. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail. One day. Ironically these bad habits would later make him famous. Maryland 2006. 21.”9. his mother and his father were known to be drinkers. At the end of the 1950s he moved to New York. and his father's death made his mother's drinking behavior even worse. After a successful article. From: Air Force Times. Col. he was asked to write a whole book about these outlaws. W. without having any mentionable success. Maybe these circumstances are the reason.: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. rapes and robberies. and in 1964 their first and only son Juan Fitzgerald Thompson was born. Senior Thesis. With 14. One of his Athenaeum friends. After his basic training he got transferred to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.S. cigarettes and drugs also started by this time. why hunter became quite aggressive and started to brush with the law.2005 . Evans. Thompson continued his sports writing by accepting several minor jobs and he mostly he got fired right afterwards. After his time in the Air Force. His commander. Porter Bibb. wrote about Thompson : “In summary. remembers: “We all started drinking at about fourteen. Washington College. Bruce: Writer Hunter S. the gang beat him up heavily. but nobody wanted to publish them. he traded the other half in for a sign-up at the U.” he also stated that “Sometimes his rebel and superior attitude seems to rub off on other airmen staff members. He ended up riding and living along with the Hell's Angels for about one year.S. His addiction to alcohol. later even to South America. when he was asked to write a piece about the Californian motorcycle gang Hell's Angels. Thompson" 11 Rolfsen. page 15 10 Wikipedia on "Hunter S. Thompson commits suicide. Hunter's father died.

Thompson was disappointed by politics in his country. 12 SOD.: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. and he got to write articles in several considerable publications such as the New York Times or the Time Magazine."13 as well as "that week at the Convention changed everything I‘d ever taken for granted about this country and my place in it. page 36 . without a motorcycle . University Press of Mississippi. where there were heavy clashes between the police and anti-war-rioters. Kevin: Conversations with Hunter S. In 1971. the riots in Chicago were amongst the heaviest in the U. so they would have time to talk about his research on the Salazar-article. Thompson could not get the necessary information from Acosta. Several thousands of soldiers were needed to end the turmoil.com/legacy/new/1-292925-675022. and he decided to do something against this. Acosta was in danger of violent assaults. he decided. Mississippi 2008.7 interests in his company among them.S. so he was being guarded all day and night. You don‘t take a motorcycle helmet to Chicago. . Senior Thesis. to accept an offer from Sports Illustrated. And I still got the shit beaten out of me by the police. to write a 250 wordpiece on the desert rally Mint 400 in Las Vegas on their expenses and to invite Acosta on the trip. page 115 13 Torrey. In the end he lost by six votes.php 14 after Knox. http://www. Simonson. which used to be his hometown at this time) He had his very own liberal program. and it took years to understand why. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. Chestertown. For his research. Maryland 2006. The Chicago Convention was a traumatizing event in Thompson's life. Thompson contacted the Chicano Movement activist and attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta.airforcetimes. Colorado (within this county lies Aspen. Beef. The Hell's Angels-book sold very well. that he needed for his article. He devoted himself more and more to political topics and ended up at the Democratic Convention 1968 in Chicago. history. Thompson was working on another article about murder of Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar. Thompson got right into it and his press credentials didn't help him at all: "I went totally prepared." Even some time after the convention. To kill two birds with one stone."14. Anyways: Thompson finally had success. So he started a campaign and ran for county sheriff of Pitkin County. as well as legalizing drugs and forcing people to walk or to use their bikes. Washington College. Peter W. Thompson was still traumatized: "every time [Thompson] tried to tell somebody what happened in Chicago [he] began crying."12. After what had happened in 1968 (namely the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy). Afterwards he said: "I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist. Thompson. which contained measures to scare reckless tourism-investors away. and returned a raving beast. . normally.

The story was published in two parts in the young Rolling Stone magazine and later turned into a book. So I called Sports Illustrated [. at their expense. A suicide note was published in Rolling Stone magazine.. It was a major success and marked Thompson's peak in terms of creativity and success. now working for Sports Illustrated. He wanted his ashes to be shot out of a canon shaped like a huge fist. and writing a few words about a motorcycle race. who used to be his assistant. who was highly supported by Thompson. He killed himself at the age of 67 just like Ernest Hemingway. He always told that he would go out like this. he wrote many articles for different prominent magazines (e. He was integrated into the movie-making process and even had a small cameo appearance in the movie itself. as well as covering the U. After 1998 Thompson's creative output decreased..] and said I was ready to do the ´Vegas thing. which shows his deep dedication for sports. All of them with average success.` They agreed. he wrote an internet sports column for the American Sports-Network ESPN.8 ". He was sent to Vietnam and was supposed to write about the end of the war. As Thompson was more and more interested in politics. Playboy) and several books.and just about then. It was called "Football Season is over". and if I took Oscar along it would also give us time to talk and sort out the evil realities of the Salazar/Murder story. He spent nearly one year traveling along the "campaign trail" with the candidates of the democratic party. In 1980 he got divorced from his first wive.."15 He took a notebook and a tape recorder with him. After this he got even more into politics. Anita Bejmuk. Hunter Thompson had planned his funeral about 30 years ago.g.S. who used to be one of Thompson's role models.. he was asked to cover the presidential election 1972: Richard Nixon ran for a second term against his democratic opponent George McGovern. Next to some books.. This seemed like a good excuse to get out of LA for a few days. had asked me if I felt like going out to Vegas for the weekend. from which he then wrote "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". At 5:42 pm on February 20th in 2005 Hunter S. His good friend Johnny Depp and 15 GSH. Invasion of Grenada in 1983. page 106 . His suicide was no surprise for his loved ones. Thompson killed himself with a head-shot by one of his numerous guns.. In 1998 Thompson regained a lot of popularity because of the release of the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by director Terry Gilliam. I remembered that another old friend. In 2003 he married his second wife. During the following years.

which is supposed to be the most capitalistic country these days. The American Dream in General To examine the meaning of the American Dream in "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" properly. who is famous for his works on the American Dream.16 2. meaning the ability to change your social status because you work hard. so everybody can define it for himself. at least he wants to act like him. Today we have a synonym for this "rags to riches"-saying.2. Senior Thesis. no matter who you are. Most other forms of economy have the aim to abolish any social classes. Chestertown. This idea developed in times when immigrants from Europe came to America. that we still remember today. Sociologists called it upward or vertical mobility. As long as they worked hard. regarding segregation of blacks and other minorities. Peter W. it seemed to work for white European men. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. Vertical Mobility is strongly connected to Capitalism. However. Depp himself pulled the trigger. one definitely needs to analyze Thompson's personal understanding of the American Dream. This saying can be deployed in a scientific way. and built a monumental canon. that you can reach material wealth (which was almost equal to general wealth in the beginning of the 20th century) with hard work. several times. two feet taller than the Statue of Liberty on his property in Aspen. He isn't making it very hard for the reader to discover this. that this theme is widely known in America. Therefore it is quite significant.3. everybody was equal. It basically says. they did not suffer from disadvantage because of their origin or their religion. Because people came from nearly every European country and were needed in the new world. since he is naming the American author Horatio Alger Jr.: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. Thompson's sense of the American Dream is basically equal to Horatio Alger's. But Alger's idea is the one. and without any disadvantages because of one's gender or origin. after Wikipedia on "Hunter S. that would blast Thompson's ashes into the dark Colorado sky. Today we know. Washington College.9 Hunter's loved ones fulfilled his last wish. Colorado. The concept of the American Dream is not fixed. It can be shortly described as "from rags to riches". Maryland 2006 . Thompson" and Knox. when he asks himself: "How would Horatio Alger handle 16 Whole passage 2. that this concept already had its weaknesses by the time it developed.

He is supposed to cover the National District Attorneys' Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs at another place in Las Vegas. take drugs. and it got heavily rejected. Though the events in this book are mostly true. Summary of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The actual plot of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas plays a minor role in the intention of the book. but they are not the same person. and can be called an alter ego. Thompson was supposed to do a 300 word piece about the Mint 400-Race. Gonzo. live on room service and don't pay their bills. cars and hotel rooms. Gonzo returns to the city. because they are afraid of hotel managers and the police. Same with Oscar Acosta and Dr. not one after another. 2. To amplify the impression of reality. Duke and Dr. who travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In difference to the book.5. stock up on every kind of drug they can find in Los Angeles and start their 450 km trip. Thompson and Acosta in fact went to Las Vegas. both of them want to leave the town as soon as possible. They push it to the limits. and they start all over with their reckless destruction of themselves. Thompson and the attorney Oscar Acosta in the early 1970s. which barely covers the Mint 400 at all. Duke turns around. both trips took place during several weeks.A. Gonzo. After the race. On the way back to L. Regarding the course of events. Once in Las Vegas they visit the race. This figure is definitely based on him. Thompson. In part one Duke is supposed to write an article about the Mint 400 . one should not make the mistake to think. Thompson changed the name of Acosta primarily because of legal reasons (Acosta was still an attorney and could have lost his reputation). It is about journalist Raoul Duke and his Samoan attorney Dr. but once he did this. Autobiographical Aspects Most of the plot of this book actually happened to Hunter S. that Raoul Duke is Hunter S. Duke gets another assignment. He ended up sending in a 2500 word-manuscript. page 70 . So Dr.a motorcycle race in the desert of Nevada. get drunk. The book is divided into two parts. Gonzo rent a red Chevy convertible. but barely pay attention to it. it allowed him to make changes to the character as well. Thompson adds some Newspaper and radio 17 FLLV.10 this situation?"17 2.4.

both relating to some minor affairs during the Vietnam War.11 excerpts as well as TV-Announcements from the time they are supposed to be in Vegas. the unbelievable drug consume of both. Furthermore.g.: "GI Drug Deaths claimed" or "Torture tales told in War Hearings". Besides that it is hard to separate which things actually happened and which were made up by Thompson. Duke and Gonzo is believed to be true. . e.

Thompson just did not know where he would find the American Dream embedded into a situation that he could write about. ´Because I want you to know that we're on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream. People might think that all these things Duke and Gonzo talk about don't make any sense at all. actions. Analysis of the American Dream-Theme 3.1. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. Also. Washington College. Thompson believes. Duke verbalizes their mission: To search for the American Dream in Las Vegas. Chestertown. page 29 . who don't know Thompson's background. Peter W. Though it is anything but hidden throughout the text. Thompson proposed in a letter from 1968 a new book to "be made up of existing individuals whose lives. Maryland 2006. Neither Chicago nor the Sheriff-Campaign of Aspen seemed to deliver the right framework for him to cover the American Dream. best illuminate the various keys we need to show how and why the American Dream is dead. With these thoughts probably in the back of his head. Duke obviously still wants to find out if the Dream is dead or alive. that they pick up on their way to Las Vegas: "´Can you hear me?` I yelled. many of their statements seem to be taken out of any context. he received the offer from Sports Illustrated in 1971 to go to Las Vegas."19 According to this quotation. One of the first things. A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream The theme of the American Dream appears all over the book. fears. It was the only way to do it. Senior Thesis. It is mentioned literally numerous times. Duke tells a hitchhiker. it might be hard to connect events in the book to the theme of the American Dream for readers. hatreds. that the American Dream is already dead (probably since the Chicago Convention). if you don't know the biographical background to this book. etc.` I smiled. ´That's good.`"18 According to this statement.12 3. He nodded.` I said. page 6 19 after Knox. ´That's why we rented this car. words. And so he had one more reason to take this 18 FALLV. that this is just some gibberish that two drug addicts made up on their fevery trip. also in the book's subtitle: "A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream" .: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. one has to separate between Thompson and Duke. As mentioned before. Thompson always had this idea of writing about "the American Dream".

Beat the dealer and go home rich. telling me to go to Las Vegas and expenses be damned – and then he sends me over to some office in Beverly Hills where another total stranger gives me $300 raw cash for no reason at all . stone broke and paralyzed for the weekend.. that vision of the Big Winner somehow emerging from the last-minute pre-dawn chaos of a stale Vegas Casino. which is a very adequate summary of the trip. Las Vegas as a last Resort for the American Dream The city of Las Vegas is essentially built on the idea "from nothing to something". sweet Jesus. Still humping the American Dream."21 3. But they're real. Where else can somebody come to a town with empty pockets and return as a millionaire? Las Vegas turned the "from rags to riches"-concept into a moneymaking industry. . caused by the circumstances of their travel. page 57 21 FLLV.3. to work hard and receive their fair loan. Somehow it abuses the American Dream by offering it to anybody who's willing to risk some money at the crap tables. Drugs as a Catalyst to examine the American Dream The method which Duke and Gonzo use to explore the condition of the American Dream is very clear: Exaggeration . when a call comes through from some total stranger in New York. there are a hell of a lot of them--still screaming around these desert-city crap tables at four-thirty on a Sunday morning. They don't go there.2.]Where do they come from? They look like caricatures of used-car dealers from Dallas. He thought that if the American Dream could survive somewhere. my man. so he named his work matching to his experiences: a savage journey to the Heart of the American Dream. and erasing the "hard work"-part: "Who are these people?[. No. I tell you. they leave out the 20 FLLV.resulting in excess. "Jesus. Big Strike in Silver City. It is already on their way to Las Vegas. to work slowly "from rags to riches". . when Duke recognizes that he is in the middle of an American Dream. 3. this is the American Dream in action! We‘d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end. Why not?"20 So this is the perfect place for Duke and Gonzo to start their experiment and see if the Dream is still alive. And. just one hour ago we were sitting over there in that stinking baiginio.13 offer: He would search for the American Dream in Las Vegas.. it would be in Las Vegas. And he was right. page 11 .

breathing heavily. It is the only appropriate way for them. but you can't control it. This is the main advantage of ether: it makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel . Thompson's description of their drug experiences is always very real and extensive. page 51 ... such as addiction or hang-overs: "He came back with the ether-bottle. Not only that they smoke pot or drink heavily. laughing stupidly and dragging each other along.. you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way.[. Thompson literally fills the book with symbols for America. he is connecting it with a typical American mentality: Shopping 24 hours and 7 days a week around the clock: "Getting hold of the drugs had been no problem. which he only refers to as a "Red shark"24. then poured some into a kleenex and mashed it under his nose. they want to know if it is fully alive and therefore they start their excess on everything. Cocaine. un-capped it. numb tongue--severance of all connection between the body and the brain. and start taking every kind of drug.14 work-part and try to gain the success instantly. no. Right in the beginning. they can find."23 Another outstanding example of these symbols are the cars Duke and Gonzo drive. which is represented by signs of material wealth.. So they ignore their biological and mental health. because the brain continues to function more or less normally .]Soon we were staggering up the stairs towards the entrance. They don't want to find out if there are leftovers from the American Dream. one will find. total loss of all basic motor skills: blurred vision. but the car and the tape recorder were not easy things to round up at 6:30 on a Friday afternoon in Hollywood.. being influenced by the whole hippie-movement. but they also take heavy and dangerous drugs such as LSD. that nearly every page is full of these symbols. When he 22 FLLV. I soaked another kleenex and fouled my own nose. He never mentions any bad side-effects.4. Which is interesting. like drunks. page 45 23 FLLV. no balance. Symbols for the American Dream throughout the Book Thompson wants to establish a big contrast between the disrespect Duke and Gonzo exercise and the American Dream. when Duke talks about the drugs they bought. Mescaline or Ether. There is this red Chevy convertible.."22 3. Looking for it. the American Way of Life and the American Dream. page 12 24 FLLV. They keep up this permanent exaggeration by their constant use of drugs.

Hunter S.. though they are the people's opponents. Jann Wenner. who don't see their real opponents because they are among them. although it was clear from the start that we weren't going to Learn anything and it was equally clear that we'd be crazy to try any Teaching."27 Perhaps Thompson put an even deeper sense to this scene. because they trashed the "old" one completely. but true way: "Well. namely a white Cadillac Coupe deVille. It was easy enough to sit there with a head full of mescaline and listen to hour after hour of irrelevant gibberish. I can't cover the goddamn American Dream in a Volkswagen. deeply connected to America and the American Way of Life. These poor bastards didn't know mescaline from macaroni.. Like the cars. There was certainly no risk involved. Alex: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. So they pick again one of these huge street cruisers. it is only music. which they treat in the same manor.. This situation is just crazy. Bush) who still get voted. they are luxurious and they guzzle a lot of gas. Thompson answered in a rather harsh. even a bigger one. 2008 (Interview with Jan Wenner at 51:15 minutes) 26 FLLV.15 wanted Rolling Stone to pay for the car. Maybe he compares this group of policemen and attorneys to the American people. page 143 . after he submitted the story. what the fuck is wrong with you?"25 In the second half of the book Duke and Gonzo rent another car. which Duke is supposed to cover: the National District Attorneys Association's Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. These opponents could be for example politicians (Thompson would definitely have thought of Richard Nixon or George W. He also names some pieces of music in the book. page 177 27 FLLV. who are not noticing the highly intoxicated duo among them: "We sat patiently through the first two hours. lovely called "White Wale"26. For example artists like: Bob Dylan. and one can barely imagine that it actually happened: two drug addicts sitting in the Flamingo Hotel surrounded by several hundreds of policemen and attorneys. These cars represent the American Dream better than anything: they are big. He said something to this topic in one of his newer books "Kingdom of Fear": "Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by 25 after Gibney. his former boss complained about it. The Rolling Stones or Jefferson Airplane. Thompson. Contrast couldn't be heavier when Duke and Gonzo arrive at their second station.

16 stupid little rich kids like George Bush?"28 3. The bathroom floor was about six inches deep with soap bars. Even then."30 One day.. if she works for them. they start their "Savage journey to the Heart of the American Dream" by disrespecting basically every authority or law. such as room service. I had to put my boots on every time I went in there to piss. Also he didn't sleep for a long period of time. because he is so intoxicated and does not understand... His car is full of drugs and he has a gun with him. Disrespect of any Authority Once Duke and Gonzo are high. 28 29 30 31 after McBride. page 183 . vomit. Thompson nicely contrasts this with the mention of a traffic sign on their way to Las Vegas: "DON'T GAMBLE WITH MARIJUANA! IN NEVADA: POSSESSION--20 YEARS SALE--LIFE!"29 But they don't respect anything else during their journey. for example concerning drug consume or traffic limits. page 187 FLLV. in this precarious situation. driving luxurious cars or living on room service. no Maid seeing their wrecked up hotel suite. University of Nottingham.`"31 Nobody stops Duke and Gonzo. as they find an excuse for their suspicious behavior . such as not harming other people or not trashing a hotel room: "The room was full of used towels.`´Yes!` she said eagerly. their experiment does not end. page 42 FLLV. she just wants to clean the room. a maid comes into their room.. David: Book Review on Kingdom of Fear. ´I'll help you all you need! [. Nottingham 2003 FLLV. maybe we won't have to put her away. Gonzo nearly kills her. but still insisting on the nice things coming with the American Way of life. As an first example both of them naturally don't obey to the very strict Nevada state laws. that I figured I could probably get away with claiming it was some kind of ´Life-slice exhibit` that we'd brought down from Haight Street. maybe she can help. and no police officer: On his way back to Los Angeles Duke gets pulled over by a cop.]´I think we should put her on the payroll. Starting with social and ethical principles. and Dr.5. to show cops from other parts of the country how deep into filth and degeneracy the drug people will sink. and grapefruit rinds. mixed with broken glass. if left to their own devices. "´In that case.they pretend to be undercover cops. so incredibly foul. The nap of the mottled grey rug was so thick with marijuana seeds that it appeared to be turning green. they were hanging everywhere. The general back-alley ambience of the suite was so rotten. and they will put the maid on the payroll.

"35 Finally. as they reach their actual first goal. "Lacerda34 insisted on Total Coverage. [.17 and he drinks beer while driving. What goes into my book. The situation looks like it's all over now. for driving too fast for conditions. ethic principles or job duties continues at the press registration in their hotel. and leaves a massive hotel bill behind: "We never knew the total.. with this written warning`--he handed it to me--´to proceed no further than the next rest area. Everybody seems to believe in their lies. They don't get caught. as of noon. Their disregard for social values. I went back to the blockhouse bar/casino that was actually the Mint Gun Club .... wanting to cover the whole event. page 93 33 FLLV. They arrive totally incapable of everything.. in the company of our driver. page 40 36 FLLV. right? Where you plan to take a long nap. because they are on a LSD trip.. and make many heavy notes.. which he doesn't: "´Here's how it is. but --just before we left--my attorney figured we were running somewhere between $29 and $36 per hour. physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country--but only for those with true grit. Dr.. He is the example of a "good" journalist."36 Again. Duke is right. Not that Duke just doesn't cover the action regarding the sports aspect. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. Instead they linger around at the bar of this event. think heavily. Duke leaves the town at once.. and sometime around noon he went out on the desert. is that I apprehended you. It was a gross. Gonzo flees the town and leaves Duke behind. which Duke and Gonzo are supposed to meet.. he doesn't even mention who wins the race. the Mint 400 Race. They can barely speak but anyhow they still get their press credentials for the race. Joe. again. the cop just tells him to stop at the next rest area. and advised you. they've reached the edge and can't go any further. Instead of getting arrested. page 69 . your stated destination. And we were chock full of that.`"32 These are just very few examples for the sheer excess Duke and Gonzo celebrate on their trip. when he states: "But our trip was different. another situation.]Lacerda agreed. The shocking part about this is. and have one drink after another. 35 FLLV.. page 18 34 Lacerda is a photographer. for forty-eight consecutive hours. that nobody stops them. when the race is over.where I began to drink heavily. where Duke could get caught from is when he leaves the 32 FLLV."33 Their reckless trip to the Heart of the American Dream goes on.. He wanted to go back out in the dust storm and keep trying for some rare combination of film and lens that might penetrate the awful stuff.

By now the Shark was beside me. It was too much to absorb all at once ..` he said. They had me.18 hotel with this massive bill on his room: "´I've been calling your room. ´Then I saw you standing outside.. The clerk was still smiling. [.] I felt dizzy. and then back to freedom again--all in thirty seconds. From freedom. page 76 .` I nodded. The game was up. too tired to resist. ´This telegram just came for you."37 Luck seems to be on Duke's side. and he is able to continue this reckless experiment 37 FLLV.` he said. but I saw no point in even tossing my bag into it. to prison.

which will be their new resort for another 50 years. And personally I think. that this is not working in Las Vegas. The pattern stays the same. I would bet. these bad people just change their business. but mainly to keep from losing completely. The End of this work can only be one of Hunter S. if Thompson was still alive in 2010. this answer only relates to the definition given within this work. it is not. But still. The American Dream got raped and abused. This covers Thompson's personal meaning. Conclusion So. regarding book titles such as "Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's" or "Fear and Loathing in America". which always sum it up better than any high language text: "In a nation ruled by swine. In fact. behave like monkeys and still live like a king. after all this excess and disregard. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep. What Thompson and Duke demonstrated is. which were inflicted in the big economy crisis from 2008/2009. the big question stays: Is the American Dream still alive? Thompson's book guides the reader to one single answer. that last point is the deeper meaning of this fantastic book: critic on the American society. What Duke and Gonzo showed with their experiment is. The American Dream is dead! But. page 109 . Social component meaning. which he already knew. where people did not judge each other by their race. all pigs are upwardly mobile—and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win. before he wrote the book: No. that people know why they work. It is kind of like somebody stole the social component from the American Dream. which accepts and votes for fake politicians like George W. Now maybe they switched from politics. which developed from a strong community."38 38 GSH. nobody stops them. the definition according to Horatio Alger. and that they have to work hard. where one can reach material wealth by hard work. to achieve their goals. that people can go there. since nobody does the hard work anymore.19 4. that he would have found another perfect example for people he criticizes in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas": reckless managers. Thompson's numerous great quotations. to a lazy and atavistic society. the Dream does not work anymore with only half of it left. Bush or Richard Nixon. which they infiltrated maybe over the last 50 years to economy. and what's left of it is just one part of the former idea.

Simonson. http://www. The Gonzo Papers. Primary Sources • Thompson.huntersthompsonthesis.cercles.6. From: Rolling Stone. Hunter S.com/wpdyn/articles/A40737-2005Feb20.: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time.2. 16.php Torrey. Kicking Nixon while he’s up. Martin.1.htm 5. Bruce: Writer Hunter S. Nottingham 2003. Crawford: The Best Book on the Dope Decade. Vol. Beef. From: The Washington Post.washingtonpost.2005. From: Air Force Times.2005. Summit Books. The Gonzo Papers.html Woods.1994. New York 1990 (SOD) • Thompson. Maryland 2006. Allan: Hunter S.com/legacy/new/1-292925675022. Senior df • Rolfsen. Thompson. 21.com/unbound/graffiti/crook. http://www. New York 1998 (FLLV) • Thompson. http://www.2. New York 1979 (GSH) • Thompson. David: Book Review on Hunter S. Vol. Washington College. Hunter S.airforcetimes. Summit Books. Thompson dies at 67. Chestertown.theatlantic.p • • • . Kevin: Conversations with Hunter S.: He Was a Crook. 3. Mississippi 2008 Weil.: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream. Vintage Books. 21. Thompson’s American Dream: A Critical Investigation Into the Theme as Found in His Writing and Lifestyle. 1.com/review/R12/thompson7. http://www.: A Savage Journey into Hunter S. University Press of Mississippi.2. Peter W. Secondary Sources • McBride. http://www. Bibliography 5.20 5.htm • Knox.com/uploads/3/0/7/7/3077312/knoxthesishst. Lengel. Issue 684.: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Thompson commits suicide. Thompson's Kingdom of Fear. Hunter S. University of Nottingham. From: The New York Thesis. Hunter S.

2008 .html • Wikipedia on the following topics: • Hunter S.wikipedia. 23. http://www.wikipedia._Thompson Date of Revision: 31.09 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (novel) http://en.nytimes.1972.09 • • Movie: Gibney.com/books/98/11/29/specials/thompsonvegas.org/wiki/Fear_and_Loathing_in_Las_Vegas_%28novel %29 Date of Revision: 24.7.org/wiki/Hunter_S. Alex: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Thompson.21 Times. Thompson http://en. Hunter S.12.12.

____________________. ensure that I am the only author of this work. the__________ _____________________ (Unterschrift des Verfassers) . Moritz Stückler. and that all used sources are correctly listed in my bibliography. Author's Declaration of Originality Herewith I.22 6.

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