Thu 27 Apr 2006
Towards the end of the novel, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe, we gain an understanding of why one should “never trust a Prankster.“ Kesey’s fantasy, using LSD to take him ‘furthur’ has swept through the nation just as a red tide sweeps through the ocean. The red tide described in Chapter 23 is one in which a single unicellular dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium brevis, multiplies and “explodes into one vast immortal Group.” This overpopulated toxic group kills countless marine creatures. This related to Kesey and his role in the LSD movement that has swept America. Kesey an individual, represents the single harmful dinoflagellate. He began as the “unspoken” leader of The Pranksters, after sharing with the group, his fantasy of using LSD to open his mind and take him ‘furthur.’ This destination is very ambiguous and no one knows exactly what it is they are getting into, however the number of people in the LSD fantasy multiplies, eventually exploding into one vast immortal Group of American crazies. Kesey can’t even stop them.
Kesey gained his power quicker than the Beatles gained power over their crowd at their concert in Chapter 15. At this concert he criticizes them when their lack of knowledge for “what to do with the power,” leads them to a quick and significant loss of power. Ironically he finds himself in a similar situation by the end of the novel. Upon his return to the United States, he recognizes that its time to use his power and redirect the journey, so that its destination is “beyond acid”- “We’ve reached a certain point but we’re not moving any more, we’re not creating any more, and that’s why we’ve got to move on to the next step” (379). By the time he realizes this however it is too late. The dinoflagellates/American crazies have multiplied out of control and are immortal. Just as the creatures of the ocean become “suspended in the mucus,”(313) America becomes suspended in a LSD fantasy. In the end both the ocean and the nation are left lifeless.