A hero is someone who portrays good moral qualities and displays great achievements who is overall admired for their outstanding reliability. Although heroic qualities can impact a person’s life drastically, a person with anti heroic qualities can also influence the daily experiences of an individual, in that they motivate them to act upon negative encouragement. These anti-heroes become influential because they have the ability to persuade. This is shown in today’s society through celebrities in that they are able to influence their fanbase through their actions shown in the media. Just as these celebrities, the characters in the novel, such as Henry’s parents, teachers and friends provide negative guidance through their actions and personalities. Henry’s father, Henry Sr., is unable to be a positive role model due to his physical and emotional abuse. Henry Sr’s emotional abuse is portrayed within his affair with his wife, “ ‘I don’t have to take this!’ She looked at my father: ‘Choose, Henry! One or the other! Now!’ ‘But I can’t! I love you both!’” (Bukowski 33). In this moment Henry’s father fails to show the proper way to be a loyal husband. His father has been through war and could feel as if his wife is not satisfying is sexual desires. In contrast to Henry’s father, the famous quarterback from the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, displays the moral lifestyle of how a husband should act through proper morals and influences from his religious background he was raised upon.
From this lifestyle, Russell Wilson can influence many of his followers to not only be a great football player but also a great husband. Although, all relationships in reality are not perfect, striving to obtain proper morals is important, however Henry Sr. continues to remain the way he is causing, “…trouble at the house, much fighting between my mother and my father, and as a consequence, they kind of forgot about me” (Bukowski 42). Due to Henry Sr.’s previous actions they are followed by negative outcomes. Therefore, his parents are forced to argue with each other rather than realize they are pushing their child away. One comparison of a modern day figure that resembles Henry Sr. would be Curtis Jackson better known as 50 Cent. There was a moment in time where they were arguing and 50 Cent posts on twitter, “you are no longer my son and i do not want anything to do with you”. As a result of these type of actions kids may feel abandonment or seclusion. These two feelings could mess with someone’s feelings and prevent them from acting the way they would normally act. The next antihero that is in the novel is Ms. Gredis, given the fact that she can not influence Henry in a positive way at all. She takes advantage at the fact that she has a nice body to attract people and longs for the attention she desires. In chapter 24 of the novel, Ham on Rye, it states that Ms. Gredis is always wearing clothing that may be a bit too provocative, especially for children that are Henry’s age. She can not positively influence Henry because she is always arousing the boys, including Henry, in the room by showing off her looks through her clothing.
Henry would always hear different things from boys that would confide secretes around him, stating all the sexual activities they would do with Ms. Gredis if they were given the chance. All the male students were always excited to go to english class and the novel also states how there was never a boy who was down or unhappy when the class ended. Ms. Gredis was so sexually attractive to the boys, that one of the them in her class would even masturbate in the back of the classroom. Ms. Gredis is a lot like Kim Kardashian because, on social media Kim Kardashian is always wearing tight and revealing clothing, like Ms. Gredis, and does not realize how they are influencing society on what is classified as a girl being hot or attractive. Women and Girls look up to people like Kim Kardashian and go out of there way to do anything it would to look like her even if it damaged who they were what what people think of them. The reason behind this is because of Kim Kardashian’s high profile all around the world and social media fan base. There are many examples of celebrities who are like this, but celebrities portray the standards in what a women should look like. Stephanie Hanes, a journalist for the CS Monitor, USA Today, and the Washington Post, reveals that females feel the way they do because of the things females must and must not do based off their gender alone. Girls may turn to self-harm and end starving themselves for days so girls can be skinny, by getting plastic surgery or implants on different parts of the body such as breasts, butts, and lip which modifies their body to fit the criteria of how you have to look to be beautiful in today’s society. Majority of women feel the need to look sexually appealing and girls will do anything it takes for them to get to that level of sex appeal. Girls have constant worry that if they are unable look like a certain person, then they will not be accepted just for the way they look.
The sexual influences that Ms. Gredis gives off on Henry and the other students could wind up putting a general standard on what women have to look like and could change the view of how these boys may view women and girls not only now, but in the future as well. Antiheroes do not have any powers, but they can be a strong influence like Harry Walden. In chapter 24 of the novel, there is a rumor that goes around stating that Harry Walden has been seeing Ms. Gredis every night. This made things very suspicious considering the fact that Harry is Ms. Gredis’ favorite student. Based off of Harry’s looks, all the girls seem to draw lust over this over him. On the other hand, Henry was quite confused when it came to how all the girls liked him, and the results of this leave Henry the feelings of frustration and jealousy. Since Henry has no clue on why all the girls were attracted to Harry Walden he may feel as if he needs to be like him just to get the attention of other females. Harry Walden is a lot like Leonardo Dicaprio, in a way of which a lot of women tend to generalize him as an attractive man. Although, most men see how Leonardo Dicaprio an attractive person based off his status in life, wealth, and body. Having those things only is not definition of being attractive, but it so happens to be that way because women go crazy over Leonardo Dicaprio.
Henry does not know what it is like to feels like to have girls fantasize over himself and wants to figure out what it feels like. This influence later on could try to teach Henry what it takes to become attractive. Henry also has the possibility of committing self harm, based off the way Harry is living his life with women and girls around him. He may take supplements to make himself bigger, faster, and stronger, but it may leave him many side effects to his body. In today’s society the whomever attracts the most women is considered to be “good looking” based off of looks and no personality. Henry’s dad, Miss Gredis, and Harry Walden are all bad influences for Henry in many different situations. These 3 characters from the novel show they are not ready to be positive impacts for Henry in view of the way that one of them cheats and abuses women, the other uses his appearance to his advantage to get every one of the young ladies, and the other uses the body to sexualize the body and to utilize it for leverage. Henry is stuck in a very weird situation where he does not have anyone to be looking up to.
Henry has a very abusive and a very unfaithful father who is lost in terms of love and can not stop beating the wife over seeing another woman and beating Henry over the fact that Henry got upset seeing the mom in that particular situation. Henry does not have the best influences at school either, because Harry Walden and Miss Gredis use looks to an advantage to meet personal needs. Henry does not have a hero that can save him from all of these antiheroes at the moment, but that does not mean that a hero can show up. Heroes tend to always come in at the right time, when people are in need. Later on in the story, hopefully a hero can show up to attend Henry’s needs, but at this point with all the negativity surrounding Henry, Henry has the great possibility of losing his hope and faith in everything. Either somebody comes and tries to save Henry or Henry is going to have to do all the work on his own. Henry also needs better influences in life and needs to find a way to become a better person.
Especially because of Henry’s father and having a very strong personality, chances are that Henry could become just like the father and be ruthless. Henry can also begin to harm himself towards the end of the story because it seems to be that Henry is not surrounded by positivity at all. At the end of the day, Henry at the moment is all alone in the battle. but Henry still has the chance to change everything and turn everything around for the better and it is not to late to do so, but the rest of the book will describe and determine what ends up happening later on in the end of the story.