Hunter S Thompson Analysis

688 Words3 Pages
I chose Hunter S. Thompson’s, Fear & Loathing in America, for the Unit #5 Discussion Assignment. This creative non-fiction story reports on the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks at New York City’s World Trade Center Towers and The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Thompson uses the events as a vehicle to make a larger statement about United States leadership and its policy. Thompson writes in a creative non-fiction style, wrapping sarcasm, drama and extreme descriptions around the facts. His style of writing has become known as Gonzo Journalism. Thompson earned this fame for writing, The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved, in 1970. I have chosen this story as the assignment’s source document. Both stories use the same literary style and…show more content…
Told in the first person, the story opens with Thompson arriving in Louisville, Kentucky without press credentials, a hotel room or a valid car reservation. Thompson meets up with Ralph Steadman, a British illustrator sent by Scanlan’s to draw sketches for the story that Thompson was going to write. Thompson describes his weekend at the Derby, at times violent and clouded by the ever increasing consumption of alcohol. Thompson only devotes two paragraphs to the actual race, the rest moves from his interactions with derby goers, to descriptions of Churchill Downs, and his adventures with Steadman (Thompson, 1970). At first glance, Thompson’s The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved, appears to be about a drunken weekend at the Kentucky Derby. It’s not. The derby was a vehicle for Thompson to make a different, louder statement about U.S. foreign policy and the growing discontent of the American people. By coincidence the 1970 Kentucky Derby fell on May 2nd, two days before four Kent State students were killed by Ohio National…show more content…
This was April, 30th, four days before the Kent State shootings. Thompson’s story end on May 4th, the day of shootings. His last paragraph opens with describing a massacre at Kent State. In similar manner, Thompson subtle voices his opinion about the escalating Vietnam War and racial inequality (1970). It is intentional, that Thompson chooses to open and close his story about a horse race, by talking about war and violence. The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved, has very little to do about horses, aside from Thompson discussing the negative determinants of in-breeding. The story is filled with violet encounters involving MACE, challenges to fisticuffs and as Thompson says, “Many cops with riot sticks, but no sign of a riot” (para 87, 1970). Thompson is comparing the culture of Churchill Downs and how its participants act, to the United States and its actions. Near the end of the story, Steadman, the British illustrator, suggests to Thompson that they are no better than, and just as violent as the rest of Churchill

More about Hunter S Thompson Analysis

Open Document