Summary and Analysis of "A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka

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The narrative entitled "A Hunger Artist" delves into the life of an individual who pursued the calling of a professional hunger artist with unwavering devotion. Firmly believing that fasting was not an insurmountable feat, he set out on a momentous forty-day fasting journey to prove his conviction to the world. Described as a man in his mature years, likely in his late forties or early fifties, he possessed an ardent passion for fasting and demonstrated an extraordinary determination to accomplish his ambitious goal.

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Despite various distractions, suspicions of hidden food in his enclosure, and temptations from the guards, the hunger artist perpetually drew inspiration from the curious onlookers who gathered around him from morning till daybreak. Their presence bolstered his resolve, enabling him to endure the full forty-day fasting period, as dictated by his Impresario. However, even after successfully completing this prolonged fast, a sense of dissatisfaction consumed him, leading him to ponder, "Why cease fasting at this precise moment, after forty days of it?" and "Why stop now, when he was at the pinnacle of his fasting prowess, or rather, not yet fully in his prime fasting form?" (Kafka 641).

His primary goal was to rekindle people's interest in the art of professional fasting, but he perceived himself to have fallen short in this endeavor, grappling with questions such as, "What solace could he possibly crave?" and "What more could he conceivably desire?" (Kafka 641). As a result, he grew angry at those who pitied him and attempted to console him.

In his relentless pursuit of recapturing public attention, the hunger artist decided to join a circus, driven by the desire to surpass his own previous records and push the boundaries of what was deemed achievable. He insisted that his cage be positioned alongside the animals' enclosure, envisioning that when visitors came to admire the animals, they would also spare a moment to observe him. Despite his optimism, he fell into a state of self-deception, believing that people would take an interest in his fasting performance. "People grew accustomed to the peculiar notion that, in times like these, they were expected to take an interest in a hunger artist, and with this familiarity, the verdict went against him" (Kafka 644).

As time passed, the initial intrigue of those who happened upon his cage waned, shifting their attention to other acts and performances, leaving the hunger artist deserted. Unperturbed, he persevered until he could no longer continue and finally succumbed to exhaustion.

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Summary and Analysis of “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka. (2021, January 12). WritingBros. Retrieved June 25, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-hunger-artist-finding-the-motivation-to-create/
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Summary and Analysis of “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-hunger-artist-finding-the-motivation-to-create/> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2024].
Summary and Analysis of “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Jan 12 [cited 2024 Jun 25]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-hunger-artist-finding-the-motivation-to-create/
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