Buk and the prom

Writing and cringing on a diffrent post about teenage mistakes I recalled the description in Ham on Rye where Buk stares through the window at the senior prom.
For me it's the most tragic "lonely" scene in the book.
 
I also like that bit. The loneliness/tragedy is counterbalanced with "I knew I'd have my dance one day." (I don't have the book with me now so that's a paraphrase)
 

mjp

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That is a very poignant and touching scene. I wonder if it really happened? ;)
 
That scene was beautifully rendered in a movie whose title escapes me. Was it "Crazy Love?" I think so.
 

mjp

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trying to dispell THAT myth?
I'm just saying that it seems a bit out of character, the sadness of not belonging, watching some unattainable life through a windowpane.

Either that scene is not entirely genuine, or the I-don't-give-a-damn-if-people-like-me-or-not persona is not entirely genuine. You decide. I have no idea. ;)
 
Writing and cringing on a diffrent post about teenage mistakes I recalled the description in Ham on Rye where Buk stares through the window at the senior prom.
For me it's the most tragic "lonely" scene in the book.
The perfect image of the outsider who will someday vindicate himself....

Poptop
 
I'm just saying that it seems a bit out of character, the sadness of not belonging, watching some unattainable life through a windowpane.

Either that scene is not entirely genuine, or the I-don't-give-a-damn-if-people-like-me-or-not persona is not entirely genuine. You decide. I have no idea. ;)
Not to be an insensitive bore here...but I wonder how was this scene possibly out of character? Wouldn't you be curious what you were missing and have the same longing for acceptance?...to secretly peek through the open window and imagine the fate of the cursed that prevented you from having any kind of a normal adolescence? Why would he make this up and not contrive the rest of the novel? I feel he was baring his soul and doing so in the rest of the novel"”one of his most challenging and disturbing to write.

One might feel differently about this scene after coming under the curse of Acne Vulgaris, and most people know that the treatment for this condition is just as horrible as the condition itself and there were many occasions where he suffered from running sores and open wounds. I see no reason to contrive one of the circumstances of the physical monkey-wrench that totaled his self-confidence, disfigured him for life, and further destroyed his wretched home life. I feel nothing but pain for him at the thought of his trashed longings to be a part of the ordinary, at least until his genius led him to see through its surface, as he stared in reality through that window without wanting to be noticed. He could have taken on the world later, but instead there was more piled on and his sensitive nature driven farther inward.

I could be wrong, but I think he was drawn there out of a compelling curiosity to see all that he felt shut out of at that point in life...and I think if the reader is unable to take in the truth of this scene on some level, he's missed the emotional impact of what Bukowski was down to the grave... So I ask: why couldn't this have happened at the Prom? Or: what does it matter even if it's not the literal truth? Maybe he stared through a open door instead...unforgettable one way or another.

One reader's opinion.

Poptop
 
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mjp

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Why would he make this up and not contrive the rest of the novel?
I don't know if he did or not, like I said, I have no idea. Just pointing out that he went a long way to give the impression that he was the frozen man from an early age, and the prom scene is at odds with that.

I think we miss the mark if we take any of his stories or novels as literal memoir. Even when people are writing straight autobiographies they almost always massage reality to fit with their self-image.

Did he really "take the needle" during his acne treatments as stoically as he claimed? We don't know, all we know is what he told us, that he deadened himself to the world in order to shield himself from the pain he found there.

The point has certainly been made here many times that he was a sensitive man, it's there on the page in so many places, so I'm not arguing with you there. I'm not arguing with anyone's interpretations, they are all correct.
 
I don't know if he did or not, like I said, I have no idea. Just pointing out that he went a long way to give the impression that he was the frozen man from an early age, and the prom scene is at odds with that.

I think we miss the mark if we take any of his stories or novels as literal memoir. Even when people are writing straight autobiographies they almost always massage reality to fit with their self-image.

Did he really "take the needle" during his acne treatments as stoically as he claimed? We don't know, all we know is what he told us, that he deadened himself to the world in order to shield himself from the pain he found there.

The point has certainly been made here many times that he was a sensitive man, it's there on the page in so many places, so I'm not arguing with you there. I'm not arguing with anyone's interpretations, they are all correct.
Buk Prolly had it both ways. He felt the pain of being rejected and misunderstood but then turned that into a strength. He shut down the feeling of belonging that caused him pain and rebelled, choosing deliquency and isolation, thus generating breathing space for him to cultivate his creative genius in the ensuing years of his young life, without distraction. Life is about learning and this experience prolly taught Buk a lot about who he was and who he was going to become (the writer we all know and love today.):cool:
 
One might feel differently about this scene after coming under the curse of Acne Vulgaris, and most people know that the treatment for this condition is just as horrible as the condition itself and there were many occasions where he suffered from running sores and open wounds.
First off, on a techincal detail of a note, I should mention that most of us on this forum have probably come under the "curse" of Acne Vulgaris. If you reference any medical website, book, etc., you'll find the surprising statistic that 75% - 85% of all people have Acne Vulgaris in one form or another (try www.emedicine.com or Dermatology Online Journal, http://dermatology.cdlib.org/93/commentary/acne/hanna.html). The difference was that Buk had one of the severest cases possible. And also, to be specific, Buks' treatment was certainly "worse than the condition itself", but today most of the severe cases are treated with lasers and not needles.

I see no reason to contrive one of the circumstances of the physical monkey-wrench that totaled his self-confidence, disfigured him for life, and further destroyed his wretched home life. I feel nothing but pain for him at the thought of his trashed longings to be a part of the ordinary, at least until his genius led him to see through its surface, as he stared in reality through that window without wanting to be noticed. He could have taken on the world later, but instead there was more piled on and his sensitive nature driven farther inward.
Second, I don't think we can hang his self-confidence on Acne Vulgaris. Certainly there also was the fact that he was a German in a post WWII America, his father's mental and physical abuse, not being allowed to befriend the neighborhood boys and his mother's refusal to show him any kind of affection. I think those things among others need to be factored in.

I could be wrong, but I think he was drawn there out of a compelling curiosity to see all that he felt shut out of at that point in life...and I think if the reader is unable to take in the truth of this scene on some level, he's missed the emotional impact of what Bukowski was down to the grave... So I ask: why couldn't this have happened at the Prom? Or: what does it matter even if it's not the literal truth? Maybe he stared through a open door instead...unforgettable one way or another.
Finally, I agree, this passage and moment in the book are certainly poignant, but I don't think "if the reader is unable to take in the truth of the scene on some level, he's missed the emotional impact of what Bukowski was down to grave...". One of my issues with that idea is that we are suggesting we can tap directly into what the real truth of that scene is, which is silly. Buk could contrive, exaggerate, bullshit and bare his soul truthfully as well as or even better than any other author. Unfortunately there's no lightning rod of "Truth" to explain exactly what he meant and what he embellished. etc. And I would also suggest that there are other moments in the book equally as poignant though not as dramatic, i.e. when he is riding the bus with his head covered in gaze and the little boy is staring and asking his mother about him. Or when his father owns up to one of his affairs and the very young Buk begins yelling at him, wishing he could kick his ass. Even the moment when some of the kids from school show up at Sears and see him working there.

In the end, I guess MJP hit it on the head, when it comes to interpretations, they are all correct. That's the great thing about BUK and BUK's books. But I think not matter how you get there, and you certainly seem to be there yourself poptop, we can all agree that there was/is? a bluebird inside of BUK's writings always trying to get out......
 
The last dance...

Writing and cringing on a diffrent post about teenage mistakes I recalled the description in Ham on Rye where Buk stares through the window at the senior prom.
For me it's the most tragic "lonely" scene in the book.
I think Bukowski formed tremendous resolve at Prom night to vindicate himself in the future as whatever he was going to turn out to be, though I doubt if he knew what that was at the time, except for some type of rumblings within. The separation he felt between the "haves" and the "have-nots" must have been canyon-like, and yet he felt instinctively that his day of vindication would come. Obviously it did or none of us would be writing on mjp's Buk-inspired forum... I think the Prom night affair happened or some closely similar incident. Being a reader and not an arid academician I'm unconcerned with the truth of such details if I feel that Bukowski has gotten his point across, and I think the Prom incident was one of the highlights of Ham On Rye, and even if it is not literally true, there was an emotionally devastating experience with regard to his peers for him to overcome.
 
mjp,

why is it so fucking important if it really happened to buk or not? this shit really happens to some people in life. Isn't that enough? what the fuck do you want?
 

HenryChinaski

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mjp,

why is it so fucking important if it really happened to buk or not? this shit really happens to some people in life. Isn't that enough? what the fuck do you want?
lol, wow guy, you need to learn how to pick your battles.
this is the second thread I've seen today....with a stupid 'what do you want' question at the end of it. give it up already, dumbass.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Fucking invectives too much?
What the fuck are you asking for?
I mean, what the hell kind of answer you after?
Isn't this answer enough?

I mean.... what the fuck??!!

;)
 
Though he was toughened by life underneath he was always a sensitive soul and I get the impression he didn't make up these events as they were embaressing but needed to be told because they were true and he had an artistic belief in being honest.
 
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