Presentation on theme: "Ken Kesey (kee-zee) “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie.”"— Presentation transcript:
Ken Kesey (kee-zee) “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie.”
Early Life Born in La Junta, Colorado, but grew up in Springfield, Oregon. Parents: Geneva and Freddy Kesey. Champion wrestler: qualified to go to the Olympics until a shoulder injury benched him. Graduated High School in 1953.
Post Secondary Experience Attended University of Oregon after High School. A brother of Beta Theta Pi. Graduated from Oregon’s School of Journalism with a degree in Speech and Communication in 1957. Awarded the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship in 1958, and decided to enroll in a non-degree creative writing program at Stanford University.Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship This program led him to fellow writers Ken Babbs, Larry McMurtry, Wendell Berry, and others.
Post Secondary Experience While at Stanford, Kesey clashed with the program director, Wallace Stenger, and therefore was rejected from the Stegner Fellowship. He started writing OFOTCN when he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship in 1960.
Psychoactive Drugs He took part in a CIA founded study named Project MKULTRA at the Menlo Park Veterans Hospital. Kesey was put on a number of Psychoactive drugs and wrote about his experiences both during and after the study. Many of the works coming out of the Beat Generation included works written about experiences with Psychoactive Drugs.
OFOTCN Kesey worked at the Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park, CA. Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, but rather that society had pushed them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and behave.insane In 1963, a stage show adaptation was written, and shortly following, a film version. Kesey and the filmmakers disputed over a number of things, including the amount of money Kesey was paid for the rights to the novel.
OFOTCN Kesey also criticised filmmaker, Milos Forman, for casting Jack Nicholson, and for narrating the film through McMurphy, rather than through Chief Bromden, as it is in the novel. The film won 5 Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.
Merry Pranksters When Kesey was called to New York for the publication of his second novel, he and friends took a bus called “Further” there. Along the way, the Pranksters had a goal of creating art out of everyday life. Upon returning to California, many of the Pranksters lived with Kesey. In 1965, Kesey was arrested for possession of marijuana, and with the help of the Pranksters, faked his own death. His friends left his truck on the side of a cliff with an elaborate suicide note. Kesey fled to Mexico, but upon returning 8 months later,Kesey was arrested and served 5 months in jail.
Later Life After being released from jail, Kesey moved his family back to Oregon and spent the remainder of his life writing. Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992. In 1997 he had a stroke. In 2001 he had surgery to remove a tumor on his liver and never recovered. Kesey died on November 10th, 2001 at age 66.
Family In 1956, Kesey eloped with high school sweetheart Norma Haxby. Norma and Ken had 3 children: Jed, Zane, and Shannon. In 1966, Kesey also had a 4th child, Sunshine, with fellow Merry Prankster Carolyn Adams. IN 1984, Kesey’s son Jed died in a car accident on the way to a wrestling tournament. He was declared brain dead 2 days later. His son Zane now runs the official Ken Kesey Website, Key-Z Productions.Key-Z Productions.
Other Works Genesis West: Volume Five (1963, magazine article) Genesis West: Volume Five Sometimes a Great Notion (1964, novel) Sometimes a Great Notion Kesey's Garage Sale (1973, collection of essays) Kesey's Garage Sale Demon Box (1986, collection of essays and short stories) Demon Box Caverns (1989, novel) Caverns The Further Inquiry (1990, play) The Further Inquiry Sailor Song (1992, novel) Sailor Song Last Go Round (1994, novel, written with Ken Babbs) Last Go RoundKen Babbs Twister (1994, play) Kesey's Jail Journal (2003, collection of essays) Kesey's Jail Journal