Thu 4 May 2006
In Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, the Merry Pranksters are in synch with one another, creating a close bond between the group while on the bus. While Sandy was always paranoid that there was an “inner circle and an outer circle,” Kesey, the Non-navigator, always allowed everyone to do their own thing while on the bus (Wolfe 75). Kesey’s new vision of moving beyond acid results in the first active movement of separation for the Merry Pranksters, Ultimately breaking up the group that once was. The break down of the Merry Pranksters occurs due a change in Kesey’s and the inevitable new generation.
During the graduation of acid, vivid differences in Kesey’s mannerisms are evident. Once instance in which Kesey’s ideas change occurs when he states, “We almost had it…we would have had it. There’s too much noise” (Wolfe 399). This statement proves a change in Kesey because all of the times he lead the Pranksters, he encouraged noise amongst the group. This is evident in the acid tests at the Trip’s Festival. In order to create the LSD experience without LSD, Kesey encouraged the craze to be like a whirlpool, triggering lights movies sweeping across the room, projectors, loudspeakers, rapping and screaming. (Wolfe 259). All of these affects the Pranksters created with their equipment gave the feeling of tripping on LSD. While loud noises were once “the thing to do,” now Kesey has reversed his old ideals in order to create new ones, eventually causing the group to have the opportunity to have a clear separation. Hassler says, “Everybody who’s with us, everybody who’s with us in this thing, move close. If your not part of this thing, if your not with us, then its time to leave…that’s what time it is” (Wolfe 400). This statement ultimately proves the inner circle and outer circle exist, and in the context that results in the Pranksters separation.
It is also evident that times have changed, and a new generation is approaching. This adds to the idea that is time for the Pranksters to go on their way and do their own thing. This is clear when one of the younger Jazz band members says “Like, its so-square!” (Wolfe 408). This proves that the new generation, the hippies, have taken parts of the hipster’s ideals, and altered and changed them into something they thought was way better. This proves that the Pranksters vision is no longer the vision the younger teens want to follow, leaving them out of society’s “inner circle.”
By ending the novel with the Graduation, Wolfe shows the ending of one time period and the beginning of another. He also proves that visions do exist, and can change at any time. Although the Pranksters were no longer viewed as the central figure, it is evident that to this day, they are worshiped and valued to an even greater extent for their innovative ways and their contributions to literary work. The Pranksters will live on forever!