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English IV CP; Period 3
27 May 2014
The Life and Times of Charles Bukowski
One night in Andernach, West Germany, a sergeant in the United States Army serving in Germany crossed paths with a woman following the defeat of Germany from World War I. He had an affair with her, Katharina, whom was a German friend’s sister, and she became pregnant. A month before the baby was born, they wedded. On August 16, 1920, the baby boy was brought into the world and was named Heinrich Karl Bukowski, but we simply know him as Charles Bukowski. He would live on to be one of the nation’s best acclaimed poets to date. (Miles).
By 1930, Bukowski’s family had settled in South Central Los Angeles where his father and grandfather had previously worked and lived but by the 30’s, but Bukowski’s father was often unemployed. During Bukowski’s early childhood, he was shy and anti-social and constantly ridiculed at school for his German accent, his clothing and as a teenager for his severe case of acne; although he was praised for his art work from his teachers, he suffered a battle with dyslexia. Sadly, his home life was not well, either. In his autobiography, Ham on Rye, Bukowski brings the reader to understand that he was repeatedly abused both physically and mentally by his father, beating him for the smallest offence imaginable, while his mother stood by, watched, and agreed with his father. (Miles).
By 2003, Bukowski had a film out, Bukowski -- Born Into This, and in the film he states that his father beat him with a razor strop three times a week from the adolescent ages of 6 to 11. Though traumatic and terrifying to believe, he credits his father for doing this by stating that it helped him with his writing. He claimed that it helped him to understand undeserved pain.
From thence on, Bukowski struggled with depression and helped his rage as he grew, which gave him much of his voice and material for his writings but by his early teens, he was introduced to what would be a lifelong addiction with alcohol by his devoted friend William Mullinax who was son to an alcoholic surgeon. Bukowski once stated in one of his writings the following of his sudden epiphany to the moment he was introduced to alcohol:
“This [alcohol] is going to help me for a very long time.”
Bukowski stated that he saw his long-lived alcoholism as an origin of a method he could exploit to come to more cordial terms with his own life. (Poetry Foundation).
Given the information of Bukowski’s life thus far, I am reminded of his writing style in his poetry - it is very straight forward and right to the point. Bukowski doesn’t linger on about the subject, he states it right from the beginning. He lets you know, the reader, what you are in for, but ties it into to the reality of his life. He writes of leaving his landlord and the mess of which he causes in that brief...