A Hunger Artist - Notes

Satisfactory Essays
A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
Purpose and effectiveness of title: * Invokes concern for the well being of the hungry individual. * Are they starving? * How can hunger be art? * Presents and foreshadows the main character. * Images of suffering and starvation.
Narrative perspective and tone: * Third person, omniscient. * Reader knows the actions and thoughts of all the characters.
Characters and salient aspects: * The Hunger Artist: devoted to fasting, weak, helpless, humble, depressed, ignored, expresses himself through his fasting, his art. * The impresario: organizes the public entertainment, is the artist’s partner, uses the Hunger Artist to gain profit, liar, actor. * Casual onlookers: elders are skeptical and think it’s a job; children are openmouthed, in awe, amazed. * Permanent watchers: selected by the public, usually butchers, watched the Hunger Artist day and night, assumed he cheated, allowed him the opportunity to eat. * Overseer: last person to show compassion to the Hunger Artist. * The panther: wild, fierce and energetic. * Audience: doubtful and cruel.
Setting and atmosphere: * Amphitheater and a large circus. * Pitiful, sympathetic, miserable, and isolated.
Plot:
* Exposition: the Hunger Artist draws crowds of people to watch him. * Conflict: the audiences are losing interest in professional fasting. * Rising action: the Hunger Artist goes through Europe and joins the circus. * Climax: the Hunger Artist dies of starvation at the circus. * Denouement: closed; panther takes the place of the Hunger Artist.
Ratio of narration/description/dialogue: * Mostly narration to guide the reader through the events of the Hunger Artist’s life. * The author uses adjectives such as “endurance”, “capacity”, “patience” and “imagination” to describe thoughts and abstract feelings rather than concrete physical descriptions.
Level/effectiveness of diction:

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