A Time of Changes is a primary source, documenting the American mentality of the 1960’s. The science-fictional adventures of Kinnall Darival loosely parallel the actual experiences of such pioneers of consciousness expansion as Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. The mind-altering drug used by Kinnall and his friends in the novel is a fictional representative of the psychedelic family.
Despite the death of his bondsister and the ruination of his own life, Kinnall is unrepentant to the end. He forgives himself a number of mistakes in carrying out his evangelical mission but continues to uphold its first principles. The novel seems to glorify drugs as a means of personal and social liberation, but such an interpretation would be simplistic.
The protagonist, the first-person narrator, is not completely reliable. Kinnall’s views are not identical with those of the author and should not be accepted as truth by the reader.
Borthan society brilliantly evokes 1960’s America in its desperate attempt to demobilize in the extended aftermath of World War II. The pretense of selflessness, the paranoia, the hypocrisy, and the reluctance to express love, or any other intense feelings, are fair targets for counterculture criticism. Psychedelic solutions to these social evils, however, need to be taken in moderate dosage, if at all. Kinnall’s miraculous drug can be seen as a stopgap solution to a desperate problem, or it can be seen...
(The entire section is 369 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of A Time of Changes Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!