Why didn't young Bukowski run away? (1 Viewer)

I was rereading Ham on Rye, I'm at the part where he is mowing the lawn for the first time. His father is very cruel, I think it's funny every time Chinaski would tell him, I'll kill you. I don't know if these experiences were at all exaggerated, like Buk getting hit in the leg with a 2x4 to continue mowing..
I wonder, why the hell didn't he just run away? That shit seemed hellish, and his pop crazy.
Anywhere. I often toyed with the idea of doing it when I was younger. I know there probably weren't the programs there are now when he was a kid, and you don't think of those things anyway, but man... that's one of the first things that screamed in my head reading that chapter.

People can learn to survive just about anything that doesn't kill them. I think that bashing your children was normal in the 1930's. So there wasn't many places to escape abuse in those days. No shelters, or fostering etc. Like all abusers, his father was a coward and the abuse stopped when Hank was big enough to have fought back. Unfortunately that seemed to coincide with being thrown out of home. Maybe that was more than a coincidence.



That's the point, isn't it? Where exactly is anywhere? Saying "anywhere" is like not saying anything at all.
A kid in the 1930s... where's he gonna go? What's he thinking? It's the depression. Tough times. "The strangers out there will take care of me when the people I'm supposed to trust more than anyone in the world can't/won't?".

No... he was stuck... like almost every kid in his situation would be.

I hope there's a special place in hell reserved for abusive parents.
I guess. I got to the part where he says he at that point considered running away, but didn't figuring if men couldn't get jobs a kid couldn't. But the thought crossed his mind then.
By anywhere I meant a person like that, I'd think, would be driven elsewhere by his need to survive. I remember him saying how his father was the best literary teacher because of all the crap he dished out...so maybe that's what helped build Bukowski. But it seems like a tough lesson.
I'm gonna agree with Dinosauriawe on this one.

In the 30s, parents beating their kids was considered normal. And there wasn't anyplace to go until you were old enough to whip your old man's ass and set out on your own. I s'pose there was the possibility of lying about your age and joining the army at 16. But that's just going from the broiler to the blast furnace, isn't it?

Buk did, I think, what he could do. He endured. ("Endurance is more important than truth," he said.) And I believe this crazy and abusive environment in a strange way helped him to toughen up for what lay ahead.

I recently watched a documentary about the building of the Burmese railroad during WW2. The Japanese used slave labor, much of it composed of U.S. and Australian POWs. And the interviewer asked this one guy how he made it thru all the torture, malnutrition, disease, and abuse. And he said, "hatred of the Japanese." I think Buk's contempt for his old man may have gotten him thru. It certainly framed his view of mankind.

"Humanity / you never had it / from the begining."
yes, even bukowski stated this.

he said his father was a good literary teacher. he taught him the meaning of pain, pain without reason.

whats the link? well when you get the shit kicked out of you long enough and hard enough, you tend to say what you really mean. all the pretense gets beaten out of you.
I think that's a pretty weak or indirect link. You could just as easily react in in other ways. F.x. become a fearsome individual afraid to speak your mind. Buk was lucky that it did'nt break his spirit. A weaker individual could have been severely damaged for life...

I wonder if there's any meaning to be taught in pain without reason. It sounds contradictory...
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I knew someone 12 whose stepfather was 17
he'd get beaten up regularly on welfare nights
His bed was made of plastic milk crates
with blankets folded over as a mattress
he went home most nights to sleep. . .
his mother got a credit card that she used
to buy him and his brother beds and dressers.
they'd never been so happy. . .they felt their life was normal
the week after, the beds were sold for cash
and they were back on the milk crates
they went home most nights to sleep. . .
I ran, I'll tell you that. Thirteen the first time, Seventeen the last and final. Who knows? A friend of mine who used to also get his ass beat regularly stayed the distance, actually got physical with the old man towards the end.

I didn't have the stomach for all the sturm and drang, the ringing slaps to the side of the head, the hellish hour of five o' clock. Not me. I had legs, could run like a son-of-bitch, and did.
I'm just rereading Ham on Rye and I came upon this passage on page 87;
"5th grade became 6th grade and I began to think about running away from home but I decided that if most of our fathers couldn't get jobs how in the hell could a guy under five feet tall get one?"
He then goes on to describe people eating weeds out of vacant lots and fights between the unemployed men. "Everybody was angry".

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