Term Paper: Beat Generation Are Several Strong

Pages: 18 (5341 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Expertly written works tracing the history of cocaine use quotes from Burroughs' as a basis for greater understanding of the drug and its pull.

Ever pop coke in the mainline? It hits you right in the brain, activating connections of pure pleasure. The pleasure of morphine is in the viscera. You listen down into yourself after a shot. But C. is electricity through the brain, and the C. yen is of the brain alone, a need without body and without feeling. The Coca charged brain is a berserk pinball machine, flashing blue and pink lights in electric orgasm. C pleasure could be felt by a thinking machine, the first hideous stirrings of insect life.

And in an article on drugs for the British Journal of Addiction written in I956 and later appended to the Grove Press edition of the novel, Burroughs wrote: Cocaine is the most exhilarating drug I have ever used. The euphoria centers in the head. Perhaps the drug activates pleasure connections directly in the brain. I suspect that an electric current in the right place would produce the same effect. The full exhilaration of cocaine can only be realized by an intravenous injection. The pleasurable effects do not last more than five or ten minutes. If the drug is injected into the skin, rapid elimination vitiates the effects. The same goes double for sniffing.

Within The Electric Kool- Aid Acid Test there is probably found the most pure sense of the use of drugs as an avenue for enlightenment, even though the work itself was composed at a time when the reality of the drug scene was becoming more and more evident.

People were finding that through continued use, people were dying at best and going insane at worst. The subject of the autobiographical journey Acid Test, Ken Kesey, another father of the beats demonstrated that life imitates art when he as a student was exposed to hallucinogenic drugs during paid experiments for the psychology department at Stanford University and then became permanently altered by them. He gave us such acclaimed works as One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, in which he demonstrated the sometimes-permanent hallucinations that can result from hallucinogenic drug use.

The conception of the work was largely associated with Kesey's own mental trepidation and the internal workings of the fiction were associated with a self-imposed madness that somehow became terribly permanent, at another's hands. In Cuckoos Nest, Kesey moved through the conception of mental illness and demonstrated in an effective and very moving way just how close to mad we all could be, given the right stimulus and situation.

In his later years his real life-adventures in association with the spread of hallucinogenic drug use became the subject of the chronicle of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Tom Wolfe set about journaling the whole adventure, associated with Kesey's role as a ring leader for the Merry Pranksters

In 1964, Kesey and his friends, who had become known as the Merry Pranksters, bought a 1939 International Harvest school bus and drove to New York to see the World's Fair. Kesey recruited Neal Cassady from Kerouac's On the Road to drive the bus, and filmed a significant portion of the journey; Kesey would later show clips from the trip to chemically-induced audiences at his parties. Kesey became the proponent of a local band known as the "Warlocks," which later became the Grateful Dead. Kesey and his Merry Pranksters became notorious for their "Acid Tests" and use of LSD and other drugs. Kesey's exploits with the Merry Pranksters during this period formed the basis for a best-selling book by Tom Wolfe called The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. When the government made LSD illegal, Ken and the Pranksters fled to Mexico.

For many people the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was a bridge between generations, as the beat generation developed into and influenced the Hippie Generation, as the old guard, Kesey and Neal Cassady, handed over the reigns to the new liberated front, who were at least slightly more restrained in their use of illicit drugs, as can be seen by the polite refusal of Wolfe to imbibe while he was chronicling the journey. Yet, there is plenty of evidence that the illegalities of the newer drugs simply made them hide amongst the old standards and were still very common.

It is safe to say that if it were not for the free wheeling lifestyle associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs Wolfe's book would not have been written. The story itself is almost entirely associated with the kind of life decisions and attitudes that are associated with challenging the authority of the age, and the most dramatic challenge, to self and authority is the use of illicit substances as a demonstration of self rule and also an avenue of outlet for human emotion and action.

The kinds and number of drugs that are used by the people and characters within these three text run the entire spectrum of the illicit and licit drug family. Everything from Marijuana to LSD is consumed and experienced in the work. There are drugs that are preferred over others and drugs that have greater detrimental effects over their users, yet the function of the drugs often determined the outcome of the activities associated with the sequence in the works. There are times within all the works where the challenges of living while perpetually high get the best of the characters and yet the most negative observations of individuals are those associated with tertiary rather than primary characters within the works, as we see a disturbing trend toward inhumane sideline characterizations of people who are very obviously being destroyed by the madness of the movement.

They were not the chosen few they were simply the followers who could not break free from the disturbing lifestyle that woulde ventually destroy them. We often know what happened to the brilliant princes of the movement but there are probably thousands of individuals even today are living through the effects of the freewheeling use and abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Within these works and others associated with the beat generation there are many psychological motivations for the consumption of drugs of all kinds. The motivations, be they simple justification or sincere reason, determine the role and significance of the drug's use. Clearly the reasons are detailed without censorship within the works, as the drugs and their use almost take on the personification of a well-worked character. Some of the many reasons why a person or character might use drugs are: experimentation, recreation, to fill the pure need of addiction, to ensure solidarity between characters and/or persons, rejection of authority, to avoid the real and mundane, as an avenue for creativity, as a window into greater knowledge of life or spiritual awareness and there are even incidents where drugs are even used to avoid symptoms of psychosis.

With the demonstration of the attempt by the characters in the non-fiction work The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Wolfe describes the solidarity between characters, the rejection of the mundane and the use of drugs as a tool to seal the group together for the cause, utter rejection of authority,

And the truck heaves and billows, blazing silver red and Day Glo and I seriously doubt, Cool Breeze, that there is a single cop in all of San Francisco today who does not know that this crazed vehicle is a guerrilla patrol for the dread LSD. The cops now Know the whole scene, even the costumes the jesuschrist strung-out hair, Indian beads, Indian headbands, donkey beads...."

Wolfe goes on to explain that the behavior of the Merry Pranksters, described in this and many scenes is normal, at least to them. Driving through town in an abstruse vehicle with an alarmingly real looking cap gun shooting at "beautiful" people, e.g. The normal people on the street, who conform. This is the ultimate example of recreation, they are in rout to meet Kesey at the headquarters and in rout they feel the need to cause havoc among average people, as an expression of their rejection of authority and mundane.

In the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Wolfe describes Kesey, the beloved leader of the LSD movement, "In short this young, handsome, successful, happily-married three-lovely-children was a fear crazed dope fiend in flight to avoid prosecution on three felonies and god knows how many misdemeanors and seeking at the same time to sculpt a new satori from an old surf -- "in even shorter mad as a hatter."

Within the other two works the demonstration of the avoidance of the mundane, and the rejection of authority plays out within the internal dialogue of the characters. The constant drive to both reject the normal and mundane by being in a constant state of intoxication is intermingled with the demonstration of an attempt to maintain the… [END OF PREVIEW]

Impacts of Facebook on Young Generation Dissertation

Old When the Music of Bob Dylan Essay

Poetry Amiri Baraka Essay

Rock Music and Drugs and the Influence They Had on the Baby Boomer Generation Term Paper

Immigration and the American Dream in Junot Diaz's Drown Term Paper

View 155 other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Beat Generation Are Several Strong.  (2004, May 10).  Retrieved September 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/beat-generation-several-strong/9823539

MLA Format

"Beat Generation Are Several Strong."  10 May 2004.  Web.  15 September 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/beat-generation-several-strong/9823539>.

Chicago Format

"Beat Generation Are Several Strong."  Essaytown.com.  May 10, 2004.  Accessed September 15, 2019.