Everything you need to understand or teach Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski.
Henry says his first memory is of being under something. He thinks it was a table. It was 1922 in Germany, and he was between one and two years old. His memories are spotty and among them is food. He says people were "always eating". Then the entire family is in America. He has limited contact with his grandmother and almost none with his grandfather. Henry's life consists of both a series of beatings at the hands of his father, Big Henry, and the disinterest of a timid mother.
Henry is forbidden to interact with other children in the neighborhood. His parents feel that the other children are poor and beneath Henry, though they barely struggle through the Depression themselves. Henry breaks away from that to some degree, and does eventually manage to make some friends although he himself always drives them away. When Henry is still very young...
Ham on Rye Lesson Plans contain 115 pages of teaching material, including: