Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Themes

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Idealism

Though his trip is ostensibly professional, Thompson refers repeatedly throughout Fear and Loathing to his search for the "American Dream." Though this Dream is never fully defined, the reader is able to glean some of what Thompson means when he uses the term ironically. For instance, when he refers to the Circus-Circus as "the vortex of the American Dream," he says this sarcastically; by his description, the Circus-Circus seems more chaotic, and even frightening, than idyllic.

Thompson's idealism arises primarily from the 1960's, when America seemed innocent and the emerging drug culture promised expanded consciousness. By 1971, the year in which Fear and Loathing was published, it has become clear to Thompson that these dreams are not going to be realized. All of the heroes of the 60's—Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, Timothy Leary, etc.—have been rendered either irrelevant or impotent by the dawn of the 70's. The...

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This section contains 642 words
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Buy the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide
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