15 December 2011
A Biographical Analysis of Hunter S. Thompson's Screwjack
Hunter S. Thompson's dubious extra curriculars are hardly a secret. Although known to most via the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," all of Thompson's works include direct admissions of heavy drug and alcohol use.
In "Mescalito," the first story in the Screwjack compilation, Thompson's first sentence introduces the narrator as being "full of pills and club sandwiches and Old Crow and now a fifth of Louis Martini Barbera." (Thompson, 17) Between this and the fact that the narrator is also a journalist who "did that Hell's Angels thing," (reference to a Hunter S. Thompson book of the same name on the motorcycle group) it is clear that although Screwjack is a fictional work, Thompson's intention is to let the reader know the book is again about himself.
"Mescalito" is about a mescaline trip in the context of poly drug use, which is certainly a common theme in Thompson's cannon. "Death of a Poet" begins with a Wild Turkey fueld road trip. "Screwjack" is a story that occurs during a marijuana bender, however, it unfolds in such an illogical manner that it could easily implicate further mescaline use.
Thompson described himself to Salon.com writer Joe Glassie as "an elderly dope fiend living out in the wilderness." This wording is not far from that of Screwjack's introduction where Thompson writes to his fictional editor Maurice "I have finally returned from the Wilderness, were I was chased and tormented by huge radioactive bobcats for 22 weeks." (Thompson, 11) But rather than explain away his drug use as abberrant wild days or a mistake, Thompson took the view that the drugs were essential for his performance as a writer. When New York Times writer Joe Klien asked Thompson if he had ever considered sober straightforward writing, "Without that... I'd have the brain of a second rate accountant."
Indeed, Thompson's body of works as well the fictional...
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