For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Factotum

by Bukowski, Charles (2009)

Abstract

Henry Chinaski, an outcast, a loner and a hopeless drunk, drifts around America from one dead-end job to another, from one woman to another and from one bottle to the next. Uncompromising, gritty, hilarious and confessional in turn, his downward spiral is peppered with black humour. Factotum follows Charles Bukowski's bestselling Post Office, his highly autobiographical first novel. Bukowski's Beat Generation writing reflects his slum upbringing, his succession of menial jobs and his experience of low life urban America. He died in 1994 and is widely acknowledged as one of the most distinctive writers of the last fifty years. Neeli Cherkovski was a close friend of Bukowski and is the author of Hank- The Life of Charles Bukowski (Random House, 1991)

Key Passage

The Florida State Department of Employment was a pleasant place. It wasn't as crowded as the Los Angeles office which was always full. It was my turn for a little good luck, not much, but a little. It was true that I didn't have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?  (p.97)

Keywords

Bukowski, Anti Work, Against Work, Menial Work, Beat Generation, Humour, Pleasure, Satisfaction

Themes

Resistance to Work

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