Thu 4 May 2006
Most of the Beat writers put forth a great deal of effort toward finding “the final fix” (Burroughs 128), whether it be Yage, acid, a sexual experience or religion. In Junky, Burroughs realized that junk was isolating him rather than bringing him closer to other people, which explained why he wanted to travel south to discover the hallucinogenic drug, Yage (127-8). In Maggie Cassidy, Jack Dulouz was looking for love, and at the end of the novel, a sexual relationship with Maggie. He saw this as a means of completing his relationship with a girl he truly loved (Kerouac 193-4). Kerouac’s character, in The Dharma Bums, was looking for enlightenment and meaning to his life through Zen Buddhism. He believes spending time alone on the mountain as a fire lookout will help him reach enlightenment (234-44). Finally, the Merry Pranksters in Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test seek enlightenment through the use of LSD as a way of achieving interconnectedness. Even though they manage to understand each others thoughts silently, they have a difficult time understanding the outside world.
Though all search for this ultimate enlightenment, few reach it, as they are only looking for meaning in their lives. Possibly they are all seeking maturity in some form or another. Jack Dulouz hopes he will reach it through a sexual relationship with Maggie Cassidy and Ray Smith believes he will reach it through spending some time on a mountain peek alone with only his thoughts to keep him company. Overall, Ray Smith is the most successful in understanding himself. He finishes the novel by saying “‘I owe so much to Desolation [Peak], thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned all’” (Kerouac 244). The Pranksters are unsuccessful, as the last words of Wolfe’s work are “‘We Blew It!’” (411), meaning they could not reach the level of enlightenment they hoped to. Either way, the search for “the final fix” remains important to all of these characters, all looking for some sense in a confusing world.