Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a travelogue of sorts, due to the blurred lines between fiction and non-fiction, which deeply explores the status of the American Dream during the early 70’s, specifically 1971. Thompson states this purpose within the first three chapters of the book in the line, “Because I want you to know that we’re on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream.” (F&L pg 6) Although Thompson states in the beginning of the book that, “Our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country…” by the end of the book he comes to the conclusion that the American Dream is a farce, and is in fact “dead.” Another main component of the destroyed American Dream is the failure of the sixties counterculture to fulfill their non-materialistic version of the American Dream. #1:
"Jesus, just one hour ago we were sitting over there in that stinking baiginio, stone broke and paralyzed for the weekend, when a call comes through from some total stranger in New York, 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 . . . I tell you, my man, this is the American Dream in action! We‘d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.” (F&L pg 11)
This quote demonstrates Thompson’s tainted version of the American Dream, especially when juxtaposed to Horatio Alger’s American Dream stories, which involve going from “rags to riches” through hard work, honesty, and determination. In Thompson’s version, even though he went from being stone broke to getting $300 cash, in other words, going from rags to riches, there was no hard work involved. Thompson only needed to pick up the phone and drive around to Beverly Hills, and then Las...
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