Hunger Artist

Topics: Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist, Richard Greenberg Pages: 3 (1246 words) Published: December 10, 2010
Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” was written in 1922. The short story is about a man who uses fasting (a form of art) as a sense of fulfillment to himself. The foods of life, were not to his liking. Furthermore, his form of fulfillment was the sight-seeing and interaction with the fans. Fans were amazed by him. His ability to starve himself inside a “…small barred cage”(Kafka 9) was intriguing to most; everybody wanted to see him at least once a day. The time and place of the short story is unidentified. The process of the fast would usually last up until the forty day mark. The Hunger Artist is a man who starves himself, not because he couldn’t eat; it was because he craved the attention as seen in his last moments of life, when he tells a fan “I couldn’t find the food I liked” (Kafka P.9) meaning he couldn’t attain the satisfaction from his audience. As a reader we sense a form of confusion or darkness when reading the text. This form of satisfaction is far from bizarre. I would say, it is safe to say that each person has a personal interest that we like to do that one may find weird. Although it may be bizarre to some people. Most people came to see the Hunger Artist; “At one time the whole town took a lively interest in the hunger artist; from day to day of his fast, the excitement mounted; everybody wanted to see him at least once a day”(Kafta 5-7).

We live in a society, where “weird” sparks great interest. This was the Hunger Artists form of satisfaction, he was a attention fiend, he was fueled by the masses of people coming out to see him. We can relate this to a toddler and his older siblings. When a child does something that causes a positive reaction or response by another person (usually someone older) they tend to insist on doing it again. Why? because physcologically, the toddler feeds from this attention, very similar to the Artist.

The masses of people were amazed at the Hunger Artist. His one of a kind...
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