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Chasing The American Dream In Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas And The Revolutionary Road

1607 words - 7 pages

Though many try to chase after their American Dream, many people long for more and come up short. The American Dream can be defined as “The belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work, not by chance”. Basically this means that if you work towards your goals and put in the effort, then success can be achieved. The American dream can be sought after for better life opportunities, as seen in the movie Revolutionary Road, or to just get a better understanding of life itself, ...view middle of the document...

The wife, April, wants to move to Paris, a stop that Frank made while serving in the War and thoroughly enjoyed. Although their neighbors thought they were crazy to give up such a “perfect” life, the Wheelers wanted a change where the woman worked for the money and the man could stay home and have a break from his not so perfect job.
In contrast, Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas is a film that revolves around simply trying to find out what the American Dream is, and how to ultimately reach it. On his way to cover the Mint 400, journalist Raoul Duke is introduced as the main character of the film. Duke travels with his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, who picks up a bunch of drugs to add to the luggage for the trip, including LSD and ether. While traveling through the backdrops of Las Vegas hoped up on drugs, Duke fears for his life during many points of the film, such as when he thought that the ground was melting. In search for the American Dream, Duke and Gonzo end up walking around stoned out of their minds, almost killing themselves, and leave with possibly no future recollection of what actually occurred while they were there.
Looking at both films, the overall themes can be compared and contrasted, as well as related back to that of the American Dream. Both Revolutionary Road and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas have endings with failure to achieve the American Dream. Revolutionary Road focuses mainly on the flaws of the American Dream as the Wheeler family seems to have it all, but want nothing more than to escape from it all. The movie ends tragically, however, when April gives herself a vacuum aspiration abortion and ends up killing herself. While trying to accomplish happiness, they did nothing more than tear their family apart.
The main focus in the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is solace in excess and self-destruction. Duke and Dr. Gonzo rely on drugs to keep them going while in Las Vegas, but the excess of the drugs make them fear everything around them as they hallucinate. The drugs cause Duke to question reality and fight himself, ultimately causing self-destruction. The drugs also caused him to miss out on the opportunities he was given to cover the Mint 400, a motorcycle race. The chase after the American Dream was a failure as Duke was in fear the whole time he was in Las Vegas, and in the end traveled back to his home state of California without a single article written.
In both films, the characters can be seen as part of an “anxious society” as they try and accomplish their American Dream. According to the assigned reading “The Anxious Society”, we are being too anxious to reach the top and are not looking to see that what we already have is great; trying to be the greatest is only tearing the nation apart. The society is so anxious to get further in life, but as we age and get closer to reaching these possible riches, we also get closer to the end of our lives. With the advances in technology and the need to be the best, the...

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