Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Study Guide

Hunter S. Thompson

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Course Hero. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Sep. 2017. Web. 19 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/>.

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Course Hero, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide," September 26, 2017, accessed September 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Part 2, Chapter 3 : Savage Lucy ...'Teeth like Baseballs, Eyes Like Jellied Fire' | Summary

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Summary

When Duke reaches his suite in a far wing of the Flamingo hotel, the door hits a "girl of indeterminate age with the face and form of a Pit Bull." Even so, Duke knows he is in the right room, confirmed when he sees a naked Dr. Gonzo standing in the bathroom doorway. He introduces Duke to Lucy and assures her Duke is "on our side." Duke moves to mace Lucy, but Dr. Gonzo stops him. Dr. Gonzo urges Lucy to show Duke her paintings, 40 or 50 portraits of Barbra Streisand. Lucy has come to Las Vegas to meet Streisand and show her the paintings. Dr. Gonzo and Lucy plan to go see her show at the Americana hotel. Duke is perplexed by this "preternatural courtship."

Duke takes Dr. Gonzo with him to get his luggage from the car. Dr. Gonzo explains he met Lucy on the plane and gave her LSD before learning "she's a religious freak" who has never had a drink or drugs before. Duke suggests they keep her drugged and prostitute her at the convention, describing a lurid gang scenario that disgusts Dr. Gonzo.

They return to the room, and Duke tells Lucy her presence isn't right for their current situation. Duke fears Lucy will work herself into a religious frenzy when she remembers the full extent of Dr. Gonzo's drugs and seduction. Duke fears she might even tell Barbra Streisand about Dr. Gonzo's violating her. Dr. Gonzo resists sending Lucy away despite the risks, but Duke presents the possible charges—kidnapping, rape, sodomy. Duke convinces Dr. Gonzo a jury won't believe his assertion of trying to help Lucy.

They take Lucy back to the airport, hoping her memory is gone. Duke rejects Dr. Gonzo's suggestion of calling the police in Montana to come get Lucy. Dr. Gonzo pays a cab driver at the airport to take his "drunk girlfriend" to the Americana. He also threatens to rip the driver's lungs out if she doesn't get there safely. Duke and Dr. Gonzo return to the Flamingo for "a quick swim and some rum."

Analysis

Lucy represents another aspect of American culture incompatible with Duke and Dr. Gonzo's lifestyle and habits. Like the hitchhiker in Part 1, Chapter 1, she appears to live outside the mainstream of American society. She has run away from home in Montana, willing to take her chances in an effort to meet her idol. However, her idol is Barbra Streisand, another Las Vegas performer who represents mainstream tastes and culture. Lucy's status as a misfit doesn't lie in her beliefs or aesthetic preferences, rather she moves outside the mainstream because of the intensity and extremity of her beliefs and preferences. Under normal circumstances, Lucy could be a moral, religious girl from Montana who likes Barbra Streisand. Dr. Gonzo describes her as a "religious freak," an otherwise unreliable statement from Dr. Gonzo who has a loose relationship with objective reality. The 40 or 50 portraits of Streisand speak to Lucy's near-religious obsession with Streisand's celebrity, but her dialogue and actions show less clear evidence of strong belief in conventional religion. She has taken the time to carefully craft all these paintings and drawings of Streisand's face, which indicates a tendency to take her preferences to extreme levels.

Duke recognizes these extreme tendencies and understands she is not a good fit for him and Dr. Gonzo, even though Dr. Gonzo is convinced they're all on the same side. Duke sees a future in which Lucy turns her extremism on them. His vision goes to an extreme place of its own, as Duke entertains the unlikely possibility that Lucy will get access to Barbra Streisand and turn her against them. Dr. Gonzo confirms giving Lucy drugs, and his nudity when Duke arrives indicates they have had sex. Dr. Gonzo makes no move to deny the potential charges Lucy could level against him. The only inaccuracy in the proceedings is the possibility she will level the same charges against Duke, even though Duke has no contact with her aside from trying to convince Dr. Gonzo to send her away.

Duke's attempts to convince Dr. Gonzo to get rid of Lucy take strange forms. First, he presents a lurid and heinous proposal to prostitute Lucy at the convention specifically constructed to disgust Dr. Gonzo. If he can make a suggestion more extreme than whatever Dr. Gonzo has already done with this girl, perhaps Duke can appeal to Dr. Gonzo's obvious affection for her and convince him to save her from Duke's plans. Duke's suggestions do disgust Dr. Gonzo, but they are insufficient to convince him to send Lucy away. Only the cold facts about how she could destroy them both bring Dr. Gonzo to see reason. In Part 2, Chapter 4, Duke constructs an elaborate fantasy about how such a court proceeding might play out, but these are only speculations on Duke's part. Realistically, Lucy could go to the authorities with her story, but Duke has no way of knowing what the authorities would do in real life. His fantasies and speculations are driven entirely by his fear of the authorities. As a hedge against possible disaster, Duke and Dr. Gonzo want to preserve Lucy's goodwill toward them and avoid inflicting greater damage upon her, so they concoct the elaborate ruse to get her to the Americana hotel.

Interestingly, the only solution to the Lucy problem Duke won't entertain is turning her over to the police. On a practical level, this resistance makes sense, because it could be suicide to turn her over to the people who could arrest Duke and Dr. Gonzo in turn. Yet Duke's resistance stems from his general distrust of police. He calls Dr. Gonzo a "monster" for even making the suggestion, saying the only thing worse than what Dr. Gonzo has already done to this girl would be to have her locked up.

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