, Research Paper
After both reading and watching Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, I have come to realize that the story follows the mythic journey. The mythic journey is the basis for nearly every story ever told. The mythic or heroes journey usually begins in the hero?s ordinary world. Next comes the call to adventure. The third step is when the hero refuses the call to adventure. Before leaving to go on a journey the hero meets with a mentor. Now the hero must cross the first threshold, this is when the hero must face the consequences of his actions and accept the challenge ahead. After crossing the first threshold the hero usually encounters many tests allies and enemies. Finally the hero comes to the edge of the unknown, in a way he is approaching the inmost cave. The eighth step is when the ordeal occurs. The ordeal usually involves the main character or the hero being put into a live or die situation, or when they have to face their darkest fears. After overcoming a severe situation or surviving death, the hero will then be rewarded for their valiant effort and courage. Next comes the hero?s journey home. Nearly at the end of the mythic journey the hero is faced with death again, and overcomes death once again. The conclusion to the mythic journey occurs when the hero returns back to the ordinary world, having learned valuable lessons or received knowledge or even treasures from the special world.
The story of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson follows the mythic journey model almost step for step. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is basically a story of an insane weekend of lavish drug use, countless counts of fraud, and many other experiences shared by Hunter S. Thompson and his ?Attorney? Dr. Gonzo. Dr. Gonzo was a large, mean looking Samoan that enjoyed ingesting large amounts of illicit drugs at an alarmingly steady pace. The ?hero? in this tale is Hunter S. Thompson.
The story begins with Thompson and his Attorney sitting at the Pogo Lounge at The Beverley Heights Hotel, they are drinking alcohol and under the influence mescaline. Thompson and his attorney were waiting for a phone call. In relation to the mythic journey this is Thompson?s ordinary world. The year is 1971.
Then, suddenly a small midget brings out a telephone on a platter and says ?Perhaps this is the call you?ve been waiting for all this time??, Thompson takes the call and hangs in up a couple off seconds. He then tells his attorney that the call was from his headquarters and they want him to go to Los Vegas and check into a suite. This is call to adventure in regards to the mythic journey model.
After conversing with his attorney they decide that he will need to get a fast car (with no top), cocaine, and of course he will need the company of his attorney on the trip. His attorney also states that they need a tape recorder, Acapulco shirts, and lots of weapons. In relation to the mythic journey model his attorney serves as his mentor, because Dr. Gonzo gives him good advice.
After leaving the Beverley Heights Hotel Thompson and his Attorney drive to a car rental place and rent a car under a phony name, on a bad credit card. The duo then round up supplies and get ready for the journey to Vegas; to cover the motorcycle race and ?Live The American Dream?. This is a great example of Thompson crossing the first threshold in the mythic journey model.
After crossing the first threshold there are many tests, allies, and enemies that occur. On the way to Los Vegas Thompson and his attorney pick up a hitchhiker, and scare the living hell out of him. Then each member of the duo takes a large piece of sunshine acid. They only have a half-hour to get to the hotel in Vegas. If they?re late they will be ?tripping? very hard when they register under a phony name, while attempting to commit fraud, on a head full of acid.
Now is the time in the story that relates to the approach to the inmost cave of the mythic journey. Thompson arrives in the hotel and waits in line to sign in and get their suite. By now Thompson is hallucinating vividly. He has a very hard time communicating with the woman at the counter, luckily his attorney bails him out of the situation. The woman explains that their room is not ready so they wait at the bar. At the bar the LSD begins to take effect on the two men. Thompson begins to have very strange and powerful hallucinations. For the rest of the night Thompson is really screwed up. In the morning the motorcycle race begins and Thompson is in attendance. After only a few minutes he leaves. Thompson then goes on a rampage of lavish drug use.
The next day Thompson calls his Attorney who disappeared the night before. Thompson then leaves his hotel without paying his bill. He goes out and rents a new car, and checks into a different hotel under another phony name. Thompson has received new orders to cover a police officer convention in Vegas. After meeting up with his attorney and attending the police convention, both men return to their suite. Thompson then ingests a very dangerous drug called Adrenacrome. Adrenacrome is an extract from a living person?s adrenal gland. Thompson begins to feel and act very strange, then he blacks out. Because he is faced with the possibility of death, this is the ordeal stage of the mythic journey.
When Hunter awakens he is wrapped in an American flag, wearing hip waders, with a tape recorder strapped to his chest, and a long plastic dinosaur tail attached to his behind. The room that was nearly spotless when he last remembered had been trashed. There was food smeared on walls, and the floor was flooded with a foot of water. In order, to remember what had happened he began listening to what had been recording on the radio strapped to his chest. After listening to the crazy things that had happened to him, Thompson feels lucky to be alive. Being alive is a huge reward to Hunter; he very well could have overdosed on the powerful, dangerous drug.
After fleeing the trashed hotel, Thompson is pulled over by a Police Officer while on his way back to L.A. The Cop lets him go even though he admitted to drinking and driving. Hunter narrowly escapes after the perverted Cop asks him for a kiss. On the Road back from the mythic journey, Hunter S. Thompson has been resurrected and is given another chance.
Once Thompson is on the road again he begins to think about all of the things he has learned from his journey. Realizing that he has gained valuable knowledge about himself and life in general. In the mythic journey this would be the return to the Ordinary world.
As you can see the story of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas follows the mythic journey pattern. It seems that all humans enjoy stories that follow the mythic pattern, making it a very important part of our everyday life.