Mon 8 May 2006
In class, we have mentioned that the idea of control seems to be a common thread in many of the chapters. One quotation in particular embodies the Pranksters’ thoughts and ideas behind the control that the Beatles have over their fans when they attended their concert.
“Control—it is perfectly obvious—they have brought this whole mass of human beings to the point where they are one, out of their skulls, one psyche, and they have utter control over them—but they don’t know what in the hell to do with it, they haven’t the first idea, and they will lose it.” (Pg. 206)
Kesey himself holds a similar control over the Pranksters. At the anti-Vietnam rally, he notices the speaker before him standing high above the crowd like Mussolini. He addresses the crowd by telling them how senseless the anti-war movement is, comparing it to a game that they have all been fooled into playing. They seem to be not much more different than the sea of 20,000 girls Kesey had witnessed screaming at the Beatles concert. It didn’t matter what the girls were screaming then, and at this moment it doesn’t matter what the crowd of anti-war activists were yelling. All he heard were cries of “Me! Me! Me!” on account of their egos, not caring for the meaning behind the words they are saying. Essentially, they are being controlled by whoever it may be that is telling them what to do, whether it is the Beatles, Kesey, or Babbs once he takes over Keseys position. This is the notion of control that Wolfe aims to discuss through much of the book.