Ham On Rye As A Semi-Autobiographical Novel

1269 Words6 Pages
FROM “HENRY” TO “HANK” RANJI MANGCU 11GH

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski is a semi-autobiographical novel of 1982. My three-hundred and thirty-six page edition of the novel was published by Rebel inc. on the 12th July 2001.
Charles Bukowski tells the story of his childhood through the eyes of his alter ego, Henry “Hank” Chinaski. He takes us from his early childhood adjustment to American life from German life, into his juvenile, hormone-driven, acne-ridden adolescence and finally into murky, alcohol-tinted college life. In doing so, he highlights his love of literature, the economic and social changes under the banner of The Great Depression and World War Two; the gradual development of his apathy and brave contempt towards his aggressively repressive father; and ponders the ever-burning questions of
…show more content…
Altogether it was addictive. I read in the car, between bells, past midnight on school nights – every unoccupied minute was an opportunity. Its uncensored candor combined with the thin layer of creativity with which Bukowski translates himself into Chinaski are rarely found in 21st Century literature, with all of its far-fetched frivolity and mind-numbing predictability. The novel is therefore successful. Bukowski gives misfit teenagers a character to relate to who is unlike any of the predictable misfit teenagers depicted in 21st Century literature. Following Henry through his experiences makes the reader hostile towards the people towards whom he is hostile, or fall in love with the person with whom he falls in love. His conversation with the reader is not clichéd, banal or far-fetched and, despite the wide gap between Henry and I- he, a white American male in the 1930s; I, a Black South African female in the 2010’s- I found that we often thought in the same way and acted in the same way in the face of fear, apprehension, anger, sadness and childhood
Open Document