Symbolism of the Bowl in Janus

Topics: Fasting, Starvation, Jesus Pages: 2 (687 words) Published: September 27, 2007
"The Hunger Artist," which is Kafka's masterpiece, suggests that humans can never satisfy their desires. "The Hunger Artist," which is a story about a man who professionally fasts in a cage, is limited only 40 days of fasting by his manager, even though the artist believes he can last much longer. The Hunger Artist still remains unsatisfied even after his very pleased crowd leaves. The artist eventually hires himself out to the circus. However, the crowd only watches him because he is near the animals, not because they are interested in him. Kafka, the author of "The Hunger Artist," demonstrates many different variations of conflict with the audience, irony, and symbolism. Undoubtedly, Kafka explores the hunger artist's complicated relationship with his audience, and in this relationship we can better see how each side appreciates the art. The audience that is viewing the artist feeds upon the belief that the artist is cheating. They continually view the artist only wishing to find him cheating. They even become confident that he is cheating, yet no one is ever able to find any form of proof. If the suspicions were to be confirmed, the audience would not be satisfied, and, in fact, feel cheated and frustrated. The man only wishes to be honored by the public and he asks for forgiveness and explains that people should not admire his fasting; he simply could never find any food he liked, but if he had, he would have eaten it. Kafka draws a parallel between the hunger artist and the ultimate figure of suffering, Jesus Christ. The hunger artist's fasts are limited to forty days; Christ was "led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights." Kafka also presents numerous images of the artist appearing as Christ such as when some women try to help him out of the cage, he outstretches his arms, appearing as if he is on the cross. Christ's fast, which he most likely did to allude to the forty years of wandering for...
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