F&LILV Question #7: The Women of the Story

by Hunter S. Thompson

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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F&LILV Question #7: The Women of the Story

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:27 am

How do you view the role of the female characters in the book? Lucy, Alice from Linen Service and the waitress at the North Vegas diner?
(Feel free to add any others.)
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Unread postby lumineuse » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:12 am

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that they were all victims of Gonzo's demented behavior. But they also seemed to serve as a conscience for Duke, in one way or another. Especially the waitress - she was like the death knoll on even pretending this was fun anymore.
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Unread postby fansmom » Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:26 pm

lumineuse wrote:Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that they were all victims of Gonzo's demented behavior. But they also seemed to serve as a conscience for Duke, in one way or another. Especially the waitress - she was like the death knoll on even pretending this was fun anymore.
I'm with you on the victims thing, but could you explain how the Linen Service woman served as a conscience for Duke?

I must confess that my first thought was that the women have such insignificant roles that DITHOT had to list them to remind us that there were a few women in the book!

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Unread postby lumineuse » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:09 pm

fansmom wrote:
lumineuse wrote:Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that they were all victims of Gonzo's demented behavior. But they also seemed to serve as a conscience for Duke, in one way or another. Especially the waitress - she was like the death knoll on even pretending this was fun anymore.
I'm with you on the victims thing, but could you explain how the Linen Service woman served as a conscience for Duke?



I'll have to look at the book when I get home, to re-fresh my memory on what I was thinking. She is clearly the least conscience-evoking of the three, but I still think there was an element there.
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:57 pm

It appeared that every single one of them--except for the maid--was viewed as a sexual object in one way or another, despite the fact that I agree with Lumi that they served as a conscience for Duke (except, again, for the maid).
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Unread postby lumineuse » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:05 pm

Liz wrote:It appeared that every single one of them--except for the maid--was viewed as a sexual object in one way or another, despite the fact that I agree with Lumi that they served as a conscience for Duke (except, again, for the maid).


Yes, and don't forget the Cameron Diaz character!
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Unread postby Gypsylee » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:10 pm

There was also the reporter in the elevator. The females were not really important characters to the story. They were just there. But then again, the males in the story other than Gonzo and Raoul didn't have significant roles either. Everyone was run over like a MAC truck by these two characters, mentioned in passing as they presented different obstacles to their adventures.

But I do agree that Duke had his conscience stirred by the waitress, Lucy and the reporter in the elevator.
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:32 pm

Gypsylee wrote:But then again, the males in the story other than Gonzo and Raoul didn't have significant roles either. Everyone was run over like a MAC truck by these two characters, mentioned in passing as they presented different obstacles to their adventures.


Good point, Gypsylee. That's a vivid way of putting it. :rotflmao:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:50 pm

That's interesting. I had not thought of them that way - as being a conscience for Duke. I saw them more as foils for their adventures and as sexual objects. However, we are also looking at this story from a current perspective and it was written during a time when the womens movement was in its infancy and it was not uncommon for women to be depicted as sexual objects.
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Unread postby Theresa » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:56 pm

Looking at the women, I could see Hunter using them to describe his viewpoint of Las Vegas in general – and it wasn’t a very complementary view – downtrodden, fake, and greedy.

Lucy – the wretched, pathetic hanger-on,
The waitress – the victim with a veneer of hardness over fear,
The maid – willing to overlook all that she witnessed for the promise of money.

I did like Gypsylee’s description…yes, everything and everyone ended up being inconsequential compared to the team of Duke and Gonzo.

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Unread postby lizbet » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:05 pm

my first thought was 'what women' - :blush: but then I have only read the book once (and really quickly to have a general feel for it) - I am starting in on it a 2nd time - I've gotten them kicked out of Debbie Renold's show so will keep look out for those female characters I've managed to forget :blush:
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Unread postby Bix » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:20 pm

Excellent observation, Gypsylee, about the Gonzo/Duke Mack truck effect. How true!

That's a very good point about the women's movement being in its infancy at the time this book was written, DITHOT. I tend to forget things like that and, lord knows, it was a very different world.

Looking at the women, I could see Hunter using them to describe his viewpoint of Las Vegas in general – and it wasn’t a very complementary view – downtrodden, fake, and greedy.

Lucy – the wretched, pathetic hanger-on,
The waitress – the victim with a veneer of hardness over fear,
The maid – willing to overlook all that she witnessed for the promise of money.


Theresa, I was going to say something like that too, but you put it better than I might have. I had noticed how "ugly" his descriptions of these women are: the pit bull stuff about Lucy, the waitress as a "burned-out caricature of Jane Russell, the "Mickey Rooney" face of the maid.

But I think I have to agree that, except for the sexual references, the females are not treated much worse that the "extra" male characters in the book.
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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:50 pm

fansmom wrote:
lumineuse wrote:Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that they were all victims of Gonzo's demented behavior. But they also seemed to serve as a conscience for Duke, in one way or another. Especially the waitress - she was like the death knoll on even pretending this was fun anymore.
I'm with you on the victims thing, but could you explain how the Linen Service woman served as a conscience for Duke?

I must confess that my first thought was that the women have such insignificant roles that DITHOT had to list them to remind us that there were a few women in the book!


I think he feared Gonzo would kill the maid on the spot if he didn't come up with a scheme to keep her silent. (he shoved the ice bag over her mouth and then put his hands on her throat) I had a feeling Duke felt sorry for the maid.

I was most amazed by the descrption of Lucy, not muc like the pathetic Christina Ricci character in the movie.

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Unread postby ThirdArm » Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:48 pm

My first thought, too, was 'What women?' Duke and Gonzo are center stage.

But, I really did not care for the treatment the women received in the book. Their descriptions were hateful; there was the violence and the threat of violence directed toward them. I think Duke and Gonzo are at their worst and most repelling when interacting with the women.

This is one aspect of the book that brought up the problem of what was real and what was drug-influenced. That had been an issue for me while I was watching the movie: at what point did it completely disconnect with reality. The book was better at keeping a grounding; so, my point is, how 'real,' for lack of a better word, was their dislike of women?
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Unread postby KYwoman » Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:16 pm

I've been trying to think of how to answer this question today, since how women are represented in the various aspects of our culture is a 'thing' with me. When I'm reading a novel I just naturally look at the female characters and how they are portrayed/represented, etc. In F & L, they are not treated too well, but then who is in this book. I didn't care for the hateful and violent interactions at all. The worst for me was the waitress scene (this is esp true in the film). It was so over the edge and scary. I always try to remember to put books into perspective in terms of the times when they were written. Definately pre-feminist and political correctness.
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