Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Imagery

The Dirty Room at the Flamingo (Visual Imagery)

"The room was full of used towels; they were hanging everywhere. The bathroom floor was about six inches deep with soap bars, vomit, and grapefruit rinds, mixed with broken glass. I had to put my boots on every time I went in there to piss. The map of the mottled grey rug was so thick with marijuana seeds that it appeared to be turning green... It could only be explained as a montage, a sort of exaggerated medical exhibit, put together very carefully to show what might happen if twenty-two serious drug felons-- each with a different addiction-- were penned up together in the same room for five days and nights, without relief" (187-188).

Here, Thompson uses detailed imagery to depict the state of Duke's hotel room. Besides being physical evidence of the two mens' out-of-control adventure thus far, the destroyed room also symbolizes the interior decay beneath the glittering facade of Las Vegas and, on a larger scale, the greed and corruption that underlies the pursuit of the American Dream.

The Moray Woman (Visual Imagery)

"My legs felt rubbery. I gripped the desk and sagged toward her as she held the envelope, but I refused to accept it. The woman's face was changing: swelling, pulsing ... horrible green jowls and fangs jutting out, the face of a Moray Eel! Deadly poison!" (24)

Here, Thompson uses visual imagery to make the reader understand the sensation of being on an acid trip. This aligns the reader with Duke, allowing us to sympathize with his strange behavior and understand his paranoia.

Hallucinations (Visual Imagery)

"We will close the drapes tonight. A thing like that could send a drug person careening around the room like a ping-pong ball. 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. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing" (47).

Similar to the previous example, Duke gives the reader an understanding of what it feels like to have acid-induced hallucinations. This is also a comment on tolerance; while a non- "drug person" might not understand why Duke and his attorney would want to ingest a substance that could result in such terrifying visions, Duke and his attorney cannot understand how the rest of society can tolerate a system in which Muhammad Ali is sentenced to "five years in prison for refusing to kill 'slopes'" (74).

Shooting a gun (Auditory/Kinesthetic Imagery)

"Three fast explosions knocked me off balance. Three deafening, double-action blasts from the .357 in my right hand. Jesus! Firing at nothing, for no reason at all. Bad craziness" (99).

Here, Thompson uses imagery to give the reader a glimpse into the act of shooting a gun. It is these moments in which Duke becomes vulnerable; he may seem to think he is invincible at times, but then, something (like gunfire) will jolt him back into reality.