Hunger artist Essay

This essay has a total of 1122 words and 5 pages.

hunger artist




Soul Food
In life there are many codes that define us as individuals and as a society. In order to
further discuss the code we must first establish the definition and nature of a code and
what it entails. It is an unspoken oath to an idea or way of life to which we feel
dedicated and devoted. The way we are influenced by our surroundings and the way we react
or feel we are supposed to react to them are a result of our interpretation of that code.
While the code is artistic at the same time it is cruel. It can embody its disciple with
such an overwhelming grip that they feel they can never get out of its cage. The
misinterpretation of the code is easily achieved. In the case of the Hunger Artist, the
code of his artistic ability to fast produces self-enlightenment to insight. As a result
it reveals to him his hunger is for answers. It reveals self-definition for him as an
artist and as a man. Furthermore it reveals to him his hypocrisy and fraudulence. All of
which leave him feeling unsatisfied and hungry.

His hunger for answers is his journey for truth and meaning in life. He needs to feel
accomplishment and self worth but is faced with the sad but true fact that no one will
give him the recognition he feels he so rightly deserves. He wants answers to why the
crowds of people and the impresario can never praise him enough even if he has the perfect
setting and time to fast for as long as he desires. “ Perhaps said the hunger artist to
himself many a time, things would be a little better if his cage were set not quite so
near the menagerie.” (Kafka 225) He feels as though he’s being cheated of his opportunity
to be the greatest faster thus far in history. The harsh reality of the fact is that he
knows this cloak of fame could never render the satisfaction he needs to fill the hunger
in his life. No matter how long he fasts he will still be left feeling empty, unadmired,
and unsatisfied because of their lack of understanding and the “failure of the public to
recognize the validity of his achievement.” (Mitchell 242) “ He was therefore bound to be
the sole completely satisfied spectator of his own fast. Yet for other reasons he was
never satisfied. ” (Kafka 221)

Never satisfied because of the way fasting makes him feel as an artist and as a man. He
never receives the pat on the back saying well done which leaves him feeling like an
inadequate failure. And when they do tell him they admire him his guilt, from knowing the
truth about how easy it is to fast, leaves him feeling admired for the wrong reasons. “ I
always wanted you to admire my fasting, but you shouldn’t admire it because I have to
fast, I can’t help it.” (Kafka 226) His feeling of underachievement leaves him searching
for someone to blame. Someone must be the cause of this suffering. At first he points to
anything and everyone who stands in the way of his rightful ownership to glory from his
honorable work. Later to be admitted that this pain and suffering is self chosen and
indeed not honorable because of the mask of hypocrisy and fraudulence behind which he has
been hiding.
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