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    Fear and loathing in las vegas Essay

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    Category: Book Reports

    Paper Title: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    Finding the American Dream in Sin City: What I Got Out of Fear and Loathing

    Where do I start? This book left me with so many questions and so many things to think about. Was this journey real? Was Hunter S. Thompson drawing off real-life experiences to create this strange and insightful journey? If this was strictly a fictional story, it is obvious that it was written by a man who had a lot of experience with drugs and their effects. I do not want to focus on the drugs because I think there is more to this book, and if you just focus on the outlandish number of drugs ingested by Raoul Duke and his attorney, you will miss it. The book bills itself as “A savage journey to the heart of the American Dream.” That is exactly what it is.

    We see America through a man who seems to have seen what America could have been, only to see it come crashing down to the harsh realities of what it is. He was not alone in this feeling; he makes it clear when he remarks that Nixon’s term marked the popularity of downers. The whole country was in a down mood. It seemed that everything had failed, and the people that were left after the smoke of the sixties cleared felt disillusioned and out of place, like Raoul Duke. The only feeling he had left to cling to from this time was the drugs, and even the highs didn’t seem the same. Take, for example, when he was describing being in San Francisco during the Acid Wave. How carefree and innocent his high nights seemed compared to the constant paranoia that plagued him throughout his five-day romp through Vegas.

    His highs, along with America, had lost a sense of innocence. All that was left was a feeling of fear and loathing. I also believe that the choice of Las Vegas as the hunting ground for the American Dream was extremely important. I think that for many, Vegas, especially circa 1971, embodied all that was right and very wrong with American Culture. The tacky glitz of the strip, out-of-work entertainers performing for middle Americans in the twilight of their life, gambling away pensions and savings, and two-bit gamblers hoping that they too could strike it rich and become genuine rags-to-riches stories.

    Vegas, with its lure of the instant Horatio Alger story, seems to me to represent the American Dream over the last half-century, and I think Hunter S. Thompson saw this too. Then there was the Mint 400 and the drug conference, both of which I think were used as vehicles to see American culture from opposite spectrums. There were the racers and fans for the Mint 400, a rough-and-tumble bunch. Some would call them rednecks, bikers, or rebels.

    These were the people who seemed to be living the American Dream on their own terms. On the opposite side, there were people attending the drug convention – a cross section of middle American law enforcement people. To these people, a free trip to Vegas was the vacation they and their misses had been waiting for. They seemed so out of place in the glitzy lights and fancy casinos, but in a sense, I feel they fit right in.

    They were the target market for Vegas. Rich people and hip young Americans don’t travel hundreds of miles to see Tom Jones do medleys and eat bad buffet food. To me, the convention attendees, Mint 400 fans, casino visitors, and Raoul Duke all represented different aspects of one idea: the American Dream. Raoul and his attorney had, at one time, found their American Dream and had lost it along with thousands of others who thought the sixties really would mean a change for the better. The Mint folks had found theirs, and as mindless and backwoodish as it might seem to many, it fit them, and I don’t think they gave a damn what anyone thought.

    The convention people represented the masses grinding it out every day, 9 to 5, living the so-called “Honest American Way,” oblivious to the way things were beyond their own front lawns. Book Reports.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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