This section in my portfolio has the 9 annotated bibliography entries that were due throughout the semester. Having to find 9 sources greatly improved my research skills. Then after i read the sources i had to summarize and analyze them. Doing this before hand made it a lot easier to write my final paper because i already had 9 sources and a general idea of how i was going to use them. Although i did not use the two annotated sources that were about On the Road doing them gave me a better idea about the origins of American counterculture.
Thompson, Hunter. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas A Savage Journey to the Heart of
the American Dream. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.
This is a piece on non fiction literature were the main character Raul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo are sent to Las Vegas to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race. They rent a red Cadillac convertible fill it with various drugs mainly hallucinogenics and a tape recorder and drive to Las Vegas. They have a series of encounters with various people from the Las Vegas crowd that are both very comical and disturbing. The entire novel is an acid trip yet there is a very strong social statement about America in between all of the insanity. Raul Duke ends up not covering the race at all and decides to follow his attorneys lead and get out of Las Vegas to avoid the numerous felonies that he has committed. On his way back to California he gets a call from his attorney telling him that he has to now go back to Las Vegas and cover the national police drug convention. He fails to actually cover the convention but claims to find the American Dream and fly’s back home.
One of the main sources for my paper is going to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson. I have two topics in mind either the idea of the American Dream or the effects of acid on perception and literature. Either way the novel will be an excellent exhibit source. There is so much depth in this novel, it truly captures America in the early 70's, although through the eyes of a crazy acid head making it much more intresting. In the Electric Koolaid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe he explains being on acid as being able to see compleetly through sombody and view their soul. I feel that Thompson applied that to the American Dream and was able to see what the nation is really like through a series of crazy encounters throughout the novel.
Wolfe, Tom. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. New York: Picador, 1968.
Tom Wolfe tells the story of Ken Kesey, a young writer who discovers the world of psychedelics in the mid 1960. Kesey buys property in La Honda, California, were he moves his family and is the base of operation for his group of friends dubbed the Merry Pranksters. The Merry Pranksters take various cross-country road trips across America in a Day Glo colored school bus. The group documents their journey using video cameras and tape recorders. Wolfe documents as Kesey discovers the powers of LSD and as he is forced to flee to Mexico because of charges on possession of marijuana.
I will use this as an exhibit source in order to exemplify the extremes of the counter culture during the 1960’s. Kesey is a very prominent figure in Calfifornia during that time period. People part of the counter culture saw Kesey as prophetic figure and followed him religiously in the mid 1960’s. Wolfe does and excellent job documenting Kesey’s journey as he discovers LSD.
Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
Kerouac documents his various journeys across America and into Mexico with his friends Dean. Dean is the central character of the novel and embodies America in the 1950’s. Dean is constantly moving from one coast to another to maintain his various relationships with different women. Dean is jobless and homeless for most of the novel. At the end of the novel when Dean offers Jack to join him in California, Jack decides to stay in New York. It is a bittersweet ending.
I will use this as an exhibit source to exemplify American counter culture in the 1950’s. The main character Dean is based on a real person, Neil Cassady, who eventually joins Ken Kesey in the 1960’s and becomes a central figure of the Merry Pranksters. This is a great connection because I can observe the change that is made between the two centuries by looking at Neil Cassady.
Thompson, Hunter. Hell’s Angels. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.
Hunter S. Thompson documents the wild antics of the notorious motorcycle gang known as the Hell’s Angels. During the mid 1960’s the Hell’s Angels received a lot of attention from the media that demonized them. The media exaggerated even made up stories about how the Angels terrorized quiet towns in California when they went on their “runs”. Thompson followed the Angels as they had their annual biker “run” were they would all gather for a long weekend and party. Thompson is able to capture the day-to-day life of these out laws. He is able to depict the true nature of the feared gang.
I am going to use this as an exhibit source to demonstrate another part of the counter culture that existed in the 1960’s. The Angels were feared by most of America and viewed as rapists and monsters because of how the media chose to portray them. Thompson is able to show what the Hell’s Angels really were and what they stood for. Thompson spends a year immersed in their culture and he gives a first hand look at what it is like being part of a very small portion of the population that is feared and even hated. Since I am also using Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Thompson I can observe the transition in tone he makes in his writing a decade later.
Banco, Lindsey M. "Trafficking Trips: Drugs and the Anti-Tourist Novels of Hunter S. Thompson and Alex Garland.” Studies in Travel Writing 11 (2007): 127–53
This is a great article that goes into great detail about the fall of the 1960’s counterculture and how Hunter S. Thompson was able to see this. Banco also analyzes the loathing and the fear aspect of the novel specifically loathing of the 1970’s American tourists and the fear of the future To counteract the fear drugs mainly LSD is used by Thompson.
This article is closely related to my paper. It does a great jump interpreting the chapter that I plan to center my paper around. It also helps me understand the fear and loathing aspect of Thompson’s novel. I need to really read this source over but after a brief skim, this source seems to be one of my most promising and encouraging, because it is essentially the same subject matter that I am writing on.
Watson, Steven. The Birth of the Beat Generation. New York: Pantheon Books, 1995.
This novel is a biography of the people that created and popularized the “beat” generation. The novel has short biographies of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, Carl Solomon, and Neal Cassady. The novel begins by explains the origin of the term “beat” then proceeds to explain how an entire generation was born. It goes on to catalog the lives of the six fascinating individuals that essentially gave birth to the “beat” generation.
I will use this source to define what “beat” actually means as well as look at the lives of the Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac in order to help me understand their motives and have more background on their lives. I can examine their childhoods and upbringings in order to maybe find a link to why the counterculture was created. Since Cassady is also in the Electric Koolaid Acid test novel it will also help me understand the transition he made from the “beat” scene to the “hipster” drug scene from the 1950’s to the 1960’s.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Dir. Terry Gilliam. Universal Studios, 1998.
This movie interprets Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Johnny Depp plays Raoul Duke (Hunter S. Thompson) a journalist on the way to cover the Mint 400, a motorcycle race. Benicio Del Toro plays his Dr. Gonzo, Duke’s attorney. The movie follows the novel surprising well with most of the dialog directly from the pages of the novel. There is a slight change in the ending of the movie. In the movie Duke drives back to California, while in the novel he takes a plane back.
I am planning to use the movie interpretation of the novel as an argument source. The movie does a great job translating an acid trip into film. Although I feel it does not to justice to the novel it is still a great attempt. Since I am changing the focus of my paper solely on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, the movie will be a great source to use. I will use it to exemplify how Thompson saw the Las Vegas crowd as well as his view on the American Dream.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Dir. Alex Gibney. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2008.
This is a movie about the life of Hunter S. Thompson, author of Hell’s Angels, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This movie covers his early life all the way up until his suicide in 2005. His close friends and celebrities like Johnny Depp comment on various aspects of Thompson’s facilitating life.
I will use this movie as both a fact source and an argument source. I can use it as a fact source to establish a bibliography on Thompson. I can also use it as an argument source because different people have different interpretations on his life as well as his various works, mainly Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Wood, John. " Hell’s Angels and the Illusion of the Counterculture” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 37, No. 2, (2003)
This article discusses how the Hell’s Angels were no really part of the counterculture. Instead Wood believes due to media and pop culture the Hell’s Angels were drastically miss represented and romanticized. He felt that they were not truly part of counterculture despite their friendship with Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster. Wood believes that they were not truly friends with each other in fact he believes that the Pranksters were afraid of the Angels.
I will use this source as a theory source. In general I agree with Wood. The Angels were not nice people nor were they trend setting outlaws. Thompson’s novel Hell’s Angles comes to this conclusion as well. This article will re enforce my thesis because it will show how groups failed to come together at the end of the 1960’s. The Hell’s Angels not only parted ways with the Merry Pranksters but also attacked a group of Berkeley anti-war protesters.