Charles Bukowski: Cynical Critic

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The poems of Charles Bukowski arose from the gutters of society, venting his personal experiences with a dark, but often humorous narrative. Despite his disgust towards social conformity and the American government, Bukowski is still generally considered an iconic figure in American literature. A contradiction to Bukowski’s anti-American opinions is made by his emphasis on the values of freedom and independence in his poems: yellow cab, I have shit stains in my underwear too, and quiet clean girls in gingham dresses. These poems reinforce Bukowski as a cynical critic of the bourgeois society, often targeting women; it would be foolish to blind ones opinion on whether he was anti-American or not, as such generalizations rarely fit an…show more content…
These philosophical writers likely encouraged the development Bukowski’s negative opinion on capitalist society. It is also in this period when Bukowski began to write poetry, gaining moderate attention through various publishing firms. Bukowski’s underground popularity increased overtime until he became mainstream name, ironically idolized by the people he mocked. Women have also been entangled in Bukowski’s messy life, experiencing both marriages and divorces (Frost, 2002). In addition Bukowski also experienced numerous short-term relationships, often with groupies or prostitutes. In comparison to Bukowski’s life, his persona as a writer zigzags between anti-American and patriotic characteristics; however the description of being a critic of society is more accurate than a irrelevant label. Bukowski’s poems are loaded with sharp remarks towards the society around him. In yellow cab, Bukowski cites his lack of money for the reason women keep leaving him; also expelling an atmosphere of hope, or perhaps survival, in moving on to the “next bar”. According to critics, the subject of survival defines Bukowski’s poems (Gale, 1998). The ‘underground’ population, whom Bukowski write to, find optimism masked in his pitiful tales. Also lacking a conventional poetic structure or aesthetics, Bukowski’s

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