Accent Relapse: While probably theatrics on Benway's part, he'll sometimes speak in an effeminate, stereotypically gay voice, and at other times speak like an American Southerner. Also: "Benway's voice drifts into my consciousness from no particular place... a disembodied voice that is sometimes loud and clear, sometimes barely audible, like music down a windy street."
Also Salvador Hassan O'Leary, who is said to lapse into broken English in times of stress. "His accent at such moments suggests an Italian origin."
All Gays are Promiscuous: In fairness, it's the '50s. Gay culture didn't have the stability to really support monogamy when this was written.
Anachronic Order: The chapters are arranged in the order in which they came back from the printer; Burroughs and his friends decided that they couldn't really improve on it. Burroughs was famous for doing this 'cut-up' in his other poetry, as well. Except for the section where Lee kills Hauser and O'Brien. It was originally supposed to happen near the beginning, but was moved to the end, creating another contradiction in space and time where Lee is presumably back in America, after having traveled through Mexico and South America into Africa.
And I Must Scream: "Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole how to talk?"
Arc Words: Certain phrases and descriptions are repeated constantly throughout Burroughs's body of work. Most during his Nova Trilogy and Red Night Trilogy, but Naked Lunch has a few, as it is the culmination of all of his early work; 'blank insect eyes', 'like music down a windy street', 'shitting and pissing in terror', 'No glot. C'lom Fliday'.
Ax-Crazy: A.J., who, after crashing Hassan's orgy dressed like a pirate, decapitates middle-aged women while singing 'Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle of Rum'.
Black and Grey Morality: Even the Factualists, the Interzone political party that Lee supports, are a bunch of psychos. It's just that they don't believe in what the other parties are doing — like melting people (Liquefactionists), cloning themselves (Divisionists), or experimenting with Mind Control (Senders).
And even so, the other parties are not all as separate in practice as they are in the abstract.
Cement Shoes: Alluded to several times in Burroughs's word mosaics.
Clone Degeneration: The Divisionists' replicas need to recharge (through physical — but not necessarily sexual — contact) with their original body or 'mother cell', but are dyed and altered with body molds to disguise the fact that they're replicas.
Continuity Nod: The opening pages contain many very brief mentions of characters and events from Burroughs's first two novels, Junky and Queer, such as Bill Gains in someone else's overcoat and Lupita, Lee's Mexico City pusher, seated like an Aztec Earth Goddess. Hell, even the description of the Mugwump eerily recalls a suspicious individual mentioned towards the end of Junky.
Crystal Spires and Togas: Naked Lunch begins Burroughs' proud tradition of juxtaposing the horrors of a paranoid futuristic delusions with Aztec and Mayan iconography. This is taken to new levels in his next book, The Soft Machine.
Culture Clash: Interzone, although primarily Tangiers, seems to incorporate elements of the American Deep South (Cunt Lick County), the South American rainforests (The Upper Baboonsasshole), and socialist Europe (Annexia).
Death by Sex: Orgasm Death is a reoccurring phrase in Burroughs's work, as is the image of a hanged man jizzing in his pants at the moment of death - which has been known to happen in real life, by the way.
Fantastic Racism: Thanks to the Divisionists. "If some citizen ventures to express a liberal opinion, another citizen invariably snarls: 'What are you? Some stinking nigger's bleached-out replica?'"
Fauxreigner: A few characters in the novel attempt to disguise their ethnic origin, although they often give away the fraud by adopting ludicrous multi-ethnic names. Salvador Hassan O'Leary is just the most obvious, but there's a throwaway reference to an Ali Wong Chapultepec.
Inexplicably Identical Individuals: An array of control-room menials pop up at different times and places, all of them referred to simply as The Technician — and most of whom share the same characteristics of working behind the scenes and suffering from indigestion. Of course, this is the kind of book where they actually could all be the same guy...
Nor is he the only one, judging by the references to Dr. Limpf, Dr. Tetrazzini (who saw surgery as an art form), and 'Fingers' Schaeffer, the Lobotomy Kid.
And then there's Doctor Berger, of the Mental Health Hour, who claims proudly to have cured the neuroses of all kinds of patients, from homosexuals to writers. "I got enough health for the whole fuckin world!"
Magic Genetics: The Divisionists cut off chunks of their flesh and grow full replicas of themselves in petri dishes.
Mind Screw: Literally at one point ("This brain atrophy already").
Multiple Endings: While not present in the book, a short in the Burroughs anthology, Interzone contains a story called The Conspiracy that acts as an alternate ending to the Hauser and O'Brien section. Instead of calling the police station from a desolate payphone, Lee hides at a female acquaintance's apartment for a few days and muses about his fate.
Too Kinky to Torture: Most of the lynching and dismemberment is completely consensual because they're all actors in a very grandiose and pretentious porno movie.
Villain Protagonist: A. J. is the intended hero of the book, a 'laughable lovable eccentric' whose track list of pranks include spiking the punch at a Fluoride Society meeting with a vine that melts the gums; spraying himself with bug spray, then releasing a swarm of potent, aphrodisiac insects into the New York Metropolitan, creating a massive orgy; and initiating a riot at a Five Star restaurant that ends with the owner being eaten by famished hogs.
Walking the Earth: Essentially what Burroughs did in the fifties, migrating from Chicago to New York to Mexico to South America to Tangiers to London. Junky, Queer, and Naked Lunch are all based on these experiences.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Burroughs wrote in the preface that the hanging scenes were a tract against capital punishment 'in the style of Jonathan Swift'. One would find that easy to believe if he hadn't gone on to write about three more books about hanging, which makes the whole thing dubiously reek of Author Appeal.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: invoked Well, actually, it was. Burroughs claimed, in the original foreword, that he wrote the first draft in a drug-cocktail haze and had no recollection of actually writing it — although he later admitted that he was exaggerating.
Word Salad Title: Created accidentally by Burroughs' friends Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac; while the work was still in progress, Ginsberg was reading aloud from the book (a portion, ironically, that was cut in later drafts), and Kerouac misheard two words and blurted out something like: '"Naked lunch?" What the hell does that mean?'
Writer on Board: Burroughs isn't afraid to express his opinions on whatever he wants, usually in the form of condemning farce.