Searching for the American Dream with Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas evaluation essay

Essay by MollyBee9184College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Searching for the American Dream

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." Hunter S. Thompson makes this statement at the very beginning of his memoir Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In this Thompson tells us of a time that he, as Raoul Duke, and Dr. Gonzo travel to Las Vegas to cover a dirt bike race and, most importantly, to search for the American dream. Taking us along through his drug addled stupor, Thompson can delight, scare, and confuse his readers in just one paragraph.

Thompson's ability to capture his audience with the most unusual yet powerful description is nothing short of remarkable. Somehow disturbing and laughable, the account of wandering through Circus-Circus had me clutching my poor stomach muscles from laughing so hard. The incident in the North Star Coffee Lounge had me on the edge of my seat, my eyes glued to the page.

His odd thought process and conclusions cause his audience to think differently and look at the world through the eyes of a drug. However, by the end of the book I did tire a bit of jumbling through his thoughts and the events. It slowed down in a few places, which was a little boring after such a compelling beginning, but they spaced out well enough to hold my attention.

Not having lived through the "dope decade", I found it hard to completely grasp the message Thompson was trying to express throughout Fear and Loathing. However, I'm not sure anyone could completely understand a mind like his. From beginning to end Fear and Loathing talks about a search for the American dream, a search through the desert, through the world. In the chapter Breakdown on Paradise Boulevard., it finally hit...