"Ham on Rye" and "Frankenstein." Anybody else? (1 Viewer)

In the book "Ham on Rye," by Charles Bukowski, he talks about his experience while watching his fellow classmates dancing during his senior prom (ch.44 in. Bukowski). While I was reading this, I couldn't help but get a sensation of familiarity. Ah! That's right! It began to remind me of the novel "Frankenstein," by Mary Shelley.

In the book "Frankenstein," the monster hides, in what I remember to be, a cottage, or he watches a cottage full of people. Here, "looking into the light," he can see them living their regular lives, interacting with each other and the whole bit (ch.11, 12 in. Shelley). There's a lot of excerpts that I can grab but a particular one caught my eye and memory:

‘I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers—their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions; but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification. Alas! I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity. (pg. 133 ch.12 Shelley)​

Again, in "Ham on Rye," Bukowski explained, "It was natural and civilized. Where had they learned to converse and to dance? I couldn’t converse or dance. Everybody knew something I didn’t know" (ch.44 in. Bukowski). When he said, "Then I caught a glimpse of my reflection staring in at them—boils and scars on my face, my ragged shirt. I was like some jungle animal drawn to the light and looking in," I automatically felt that this wasn't a coincidence.

In short, Bukowski is a literary genius. He was right when he said we would be "discovering," him long after his death. Discovering meaning uncovering little things like this and more. This is strictly my opinion and backed with my narrow scope of knowledge. Perhaps it was just what it could've been, a mere coincidence. I found this to be an honorable mention.

Has anybody else found this similarity? Perhaps I'm not alone. I couldn't find anything online about it, so I decided to share.

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
I never thought about it, but considering the boils on his face, It's better than 99 percent of the thesis subjects that appear on this site... I am sure someone will disagree, but...

Nice job!
Even though I don't remember Buk naming Shelley, it's perfectly possible he knew that scene and gives a nod to it in his own description of the situation. The similarities are striking. And the overall theme of alienation is a main point in both works.
At least it is an interesting find.

Users who are viewing this thread