5 min read ⌚
A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is a novel with a catchy title, catchy style, catchy plot, and even catchier origins.
The story’s roots find their way all their way back to the two trips the author Hunter S. Thompson made to las vegas.
At the time Thomson was covering a story about the Mexican-American tv journalists, that the LA County Sheriff’s Department had killed and was using Acosta, a Mexican-American attorney, and as they passed some time together they realized that it is quite tricky for a brown-skinned Mexican like Acosta to speak openly with a white journalist in LA.
The atmosphere there was tense when it came to racial questions, so needing some time and space for themselves so that they can discuss all matters freely.
This trip became central to the story Thompson first started out as a 2500 word manuscript. But then, he developed it into a novel-length story.
In order to fill up the story, he and Acosta went on a second trip to Las Vegas where they tried to find experiences that would allow them to feel the American Dream, which Thompson imagined to be the topic of the second part of the book.
The results from these trips were first published in the Rolling Stone magazine, and the hardcover edition follows next year.
The story basically starts out the same: journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo go to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race for a magazine.
However, the purpose for which they are there is continuously blurred by different recreational drugs. The list of drugs is long, and it includes ether, cocaine, LSD, alcohol, cannabis, and mescaline.
Spending so much time under influence, their days become bizarre, and they experience a series of hallucinogenic events.
The events in the novel are unclear, as is the whole narrative, but then it could only be expected when it is a story about characters whose thoughts are mixed and fuzzy.
The basic synopsis is a puzzle of surreal circumstances, making it hard to differentiate between reality and the characters’ imagination. The only thing that is certain is the existence of the American dream and the greed that rules the city.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Quotes – Top 10There was madness in any direction, at any hour. Click To Tweet When you bring an act into this town, you want to bring it heavy. Click To Tweet Buy the ticket, take the ride. Click To Tweet There was every reason to believe I was heading for trouble, that I'd pushed my luck a bit far. Click To Tweet There was evidence, in this room, of excessive consumption of almost every type of drug known to civilized man since 1544 A.D. Click To Tweet In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity. Click To Tweet Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard. Click To Tweet There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Click To Tweet You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug—especially when it’s waving a razor-sharp hunting knife in your eyes. Click To Tweet This place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the Fear. Click To Tweet
This book has a much broader meaning than merely drug use, as many would believe.
As the characters destroy and wreck rooms and cars, they are actually symbolically destroying everything that is connected to consumerism, and the city itself is a symbol of the ugliness of such consumerist lifestyle.
Yet, when it was first published, it was highly criticized for the overwhelming number of scenes containing drugs. Some critics even advised readers to skip the novel entirely, and not waste time on it.
But the true worth of a book is only understood through time, and hence as time passed, the novel became increasingly popular, and along with popularity, the number of positive reviews increased as well.
And, the deeper we delve into this article, the number of quotes we offer to you increases too.
Yes, that is right – we have more word-candy you can binge on.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Quotes
There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.
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-but only for those with true grit.
We promised, but the moment we got inside we lost control.
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.
There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs.
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Still humping the American Dream.
Sympathy? Not for me. No mercy for a criminal freak in Las Vegas.
This will not be a happy run. Not even the Sun God wants to watch.
The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.
Don’t waste any time with cheap shucks and misdemeanors. Go straight for the jugular. Get right into felonies. The mentality of Las Vegas is so grossly atavistic that a really massive crime often slips by unrecognized.
Hallucinations are bad enough. But after a while you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth.
No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind.
Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop.
Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.
One of the things you learn, after years of dealing with drug people, is that everything is serious.
This place is like the Army: the shark ethic prevails–eat the wounded. In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.
For a loser, Vegas is the meanest town on earth.
Ignore that nightmare in the bathroom. Just another ugly refugee from the Love generation, some doom-struck gimp who couldn’t handle the pressure.
Hunter S. Thompson, the author of the book, is known to be the inventor of the journalistic style known as Gonzo, in which reporters involve themselves in the stories they tell.
Some consider “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” to be a failed attempt at this kind of reporting. However, it is publicly known that the author is a keen user of psychedelics, just like his characters – so the story, at least to a point rings true.
Having seen some of the quotes from the book, you can notice that the style is bold and catchy, and the characters have a strong, memorable voice.
Because of the nature of the narrative and its lack of clarity, on the other hand, it is best if you experience the talk of the characters as they are talking to you.