Ham on Rye Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Ham on Rye

Charles Bukowski tells us of the coming of age of Henry Chinaski in this thinly veiled autobiography. Seen through the eyes of this angry teen, we hear about his difficult relationship with his parents. His abusive father would beat him with his razor if the lawn wasn't maintained to perfection. Henry also had the worst case of acne that his doctors had ever seen. Experimentally, the doctors would puncture each pimple or have him sit under ultra- violet lights for long periods of time. Add the typical dilemmas that a high school boy encounters and it is no surprise that Henry acts out in the way that he does.
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Rebelling, Henry turns to alcohol and violence. Anyone that attempts to come close to him is violently shoved away.

Although Henry is an abrasive character, Bukowski gives the reader glimpses into the psychology behind his behavior. You alternate between hating him for being such an arrogant jerk and pitying him when we see moments of who he might of been. (Like when he rescued the cat from a group of kids)
The review of this Book prepared by Sonnet Davis

Chapter Analysis of Ham on Rye

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   humorous Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   parental abuse Wild kid(s)?    -   druggie culture (& crime)

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Weiner talk! Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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