Ham On Rye Escapism Analysis

Better Essays
“Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski depicts a lifetime of Henry Chinaski’s life that starts from childhood to early maturity. From the start, Henry had big ambitions and his actions reflected positive mindset but later he rejects and detests his surroundings and the hardships he experienced. However, in his attempts at escaping tragic obstacles burdened by acne, anxiety, ostracisation and paternal abuse, he turns to alcohol and solitude for peace of mind. As an adult, he is bitter, narcissistic and unable to realise his ambitions. Though he truly desired and strived for a more pleasant life, the tools available to him growing up are exactly what caused his troubles. Rejecting his environment through solitude and alcoholism, he succeeds only…show more content…
Therefore, his actions reveal a logical strive for escapism due to the unfairness of the world due to practices that are redolent of and certainly prevalent to his intolerant environment. Sports are one aspect of escapism that the protagonist uses, but his urge to create a fair world is still intact, so they play with a foundation in rules that replicate a universe of fairness. For instance, in fourth grade, he begins to play soccer with his peers every Saturday to escape from quarrels between the father and mother (Bukowski, 2008). He even creates his sports to play while alone. For example, he creates a sport that he acts alone in the house. The game involves timing himself to monitor how long he could “hold [his] breath” since he “liked being alone” (Bukowski, 2008, p.113). Later, he becomes uninterested in sports due to his apathy regarding his future. He now believes he has no authority to manipulate his situations. He becomes wreaked with dreadful acne, of which he had no or little power to control or manage. Getting out of the lower class becomes unattainable to him as he says, “I could see the road ahead of me. I was poor, and I was going to stay poor” (Bukowski, 2008, p.192). While he initially fantasised of becoming a stardom, he lowers his expectations and desires to be a dishwasher as he notes that he had no interest in anything and no way to escape (Bukowski, 2008, p.174). He is reduced to a shell of his dreamer self and believe to be a failure for the entire life. His thoughts of despair and desperations are seemed to be remedied by his escapism approach. Games remain the third form of his escapism, and he gets bored by easy games and goes for risky. He argues that risky games reflect the randomness of the real humanity, and as an actor, he appreciates the chance of losing. For once, in high school, he fights Harry Gibson, who is bigger and older, he proves to be a strategic
Get Access