Hunger Artist Is a Strange Term Paper

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.." (a Hunger Artist) the artist continues to fast until he eventually dies.

In terms of narrative structure, the story follows a conventional pattern of success, decline, failure and death. However in the process we encounter the real feelings and the emotions as well as the areas of conflict within the artist's life. The conflicts in the story are the conflicts between society and the artist, which will be discussed in the following section.

2. Symbolism and metaphorical meaning

Like many of Kafka's other stories, a Hunger Artist is highly metaphorical and makes use of symbols to suggest the central meaning of the work. In this case the central motif is the artist, his suffering and his alienation or difference from society. The difference of the artist from the other people around him is clearly exemplified in the characterization of the hunger artist. He is a symbol of the artist who is outside of the norms of society and in a sense always in conflict with that society because he is different. The hunger artist states that he finds fasting "easy" and the fact that he is able to go without normal nutrition makes him strange and "other." He is therefore a symbol of the suffering artist who finds himself, like Kafka, outside the acceptance of society.

On the other hand it is his very difference from the society that makes him special and important as an artist. However this also leads to other issues such as suffering and the need for acceptance.

The gap between the hunger artist and the society is shown in the final section of the short story. While he is dying the artist reveals why he was able to fast so easily. He states that that it was because"... I couldn't find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else." (a Hunger Artist)

This implies that the artist was so different that he could not find anything within ordinary society to satisfy himself.
The only thing that he had in his life of worth was his ability to be the hunger artist. Once the public no longer finds his art important or interesting, he no longer has a need to live in this world.

Therefore in the story food becomes a symbol of the conventions and the norms of the society.

Many artists suffer because they find the society "unpalatable" or feel that they are aliens living in the society. This is an aspect that also relate to Kafka's life as he too felt that as an artist he was alienated. The alienation of the artist is a common theme in literature and the other arts.

In the end the hunger artist has no choice but to choose the career that he does.

While it is not realistic in the ordinary common sense meaning of the word, in terms of his difference and alienation from others, it is the only choice for him.

It is in fact the only reality that he can endure. By using the metaphor and symbol in the story, Kafka is able to present a very convincing and penetrating story that enables the reader to understand the often strange life of the artist in a society that does not accept him. The entire story can therefore be seen as a metaphor of artistic suffering and the indifference of the world to the artistic way of seeing reality. Therefore on the one hand the story is unrealistic and fantastic but on the other hand it enables us to understand reality from a perspective other then the ordinary.

Works Cited

Hunger Artist. October 15, 2006.

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