Have you ever seen a person whoHave you ever seen a person who


Have you ever seen a person who do not give up fasting day and night and
is dedicated himself to fast in a small town? In Franz Kafka’s work, there is a
man who is known as ”Hunger Artist.” The hunger artist who is dressed in old,
rusty clothes is emaciated and languishing in a cage. A lot of people visit him
in the process of fasting. His aim is to fast day after day even if fasting is
going out of style over time. However, the act of fasting is perceived in a
different way by the folk in the town since he consciously avoids eating food,
so he is excluded from the society. When considered from this aspect, I would
like to point out that being in a cage evokes isolation from the society. In
this connection, this story has a sad, gnawing and lack of understanding tone. At
first, the story happens in front of a big crowd in a small town. However,
people start to be bored with seeing his same performance in the town center every
day and the hunger artist makes a decision about moving to a big circus due to
the lack of people’s interest in the early 20th century Europe. The
point of view of the story is written in third person limited perspective
because the writer centers on mostly on the hunger artist’s thoughts. Now, I am
going to analyze the story ”Hunger Artist” with regard to plot, characters,
conflicts, symbols and theme.

To begin with, in the exposition part, a man known as ” The Hunger
Artist” has a good reputation over people in the town. He travels all over the
Europe to show his performance about fasting with his manager. He grabs people’s
attention by fasting continuously in a locked cage and he sits on the floor
covered with straw instead of sitting on a stool, so huge crowds come to see
him every day. There is a clock on the cage that is so important to him. In the
meantime, townspeople continue visiting the Hunger Artist. Children especially follow
his act of fasting curiously. Sometimes, the townspeople have opportunity to ask
him questions, so the hunger artist answers their questions with insincere
smile. He also shows his arms through the bars of the cage how his arms are
weak and to keep his lip moist, he sometimes takes a sip form the bottle. In
the rising part, people around his cage begin to suspect about his performance
while fasting, so they give attention to the hunger artist’s every behavior
down to the last detail all day .This situation causes him to hit the roof. He
struggles to prove himself about how he endures such a painful process
including not eating all day and he also strives not to sleep soundly about
proving to eat nothing at any time. They believe that the hunger artist has
ability to eat food without being noticed and swiftly, so the hunger artist is
between a rock and a hard place about how to convince the townspeople not to
eat food and he starts to sing a song to persuade them, but his all efforts are
in vain. He is regarded as fraud by people in the town. That is to say, only
witness against obstinate people who come to visit is himself in terms of
reality of the fasting. Then, he loses his prestige against people. By the way,
although he has popular with his performance, he is not satisfied. In the
climax, the manager forces the hunger artist to end his fasting because he
loses his popularity in the town despite the fact that he has strong desire
about fasting more than 40 days. The doctors come into the cage to control his
health condition. Then, two ladies who are chosen by lot assist him to go out
of the cage but this help is carried out without his willpower. He has to eat
food involuntarily. The manager tries to gives a bad impression against people about
the hunger artist. The manager says that the hunger artist will do his very
best to fast more than 40 days next time and he is as thin as a rake, so the
hunger artist is misunderstood in this way. Then, the hunger artist parts
company with his manager and he starts to seek a new area to fast on his own.
He agrees with an overseer about taking part in an enormous circus to fast, but
his cage is not set in the middle of the circus. The other event revolves
around the falling action part. He does not discuss even money matters with the
overseer since he does not view the fasting as a job. As his cage is located
near the animal cages, people come to the circus with curiosity of seeing the
animals. This situation is a humiliation for his passion of fasting. Because of
this, his act of fasting fades into the background. He goes beyond the 40 days
by fasting in the circus but his marvelous performance is not noticed by the
townspeople. Nobody attempts to control about how long he has fasted and he
realizes that he will never catch people’s attention again. The last part of
the story is related to resolution part. After some days have passed, the
overseer catches a glimpse of the cage and he thinks there is nobody in the
cage. However, as the overseer comes closer to the cage and finds out the
hunger artist’s body. He is about to die under the straw. Later, the hunger
artist says his last words to overseer. . ”I have to fast” ”I can’t help
it”. The overseer asks him ”why can’t you help it?” And the hunger artist
continues ”because ? could not find the food ? liked” If ? found it, believe
me, ? should have made no fuss.” The overseer does not care his words. Then,
he dies and a young panther is brought to the cage. The panther has different
qualities such as being satisfied, lively and strong compared to the hunger
artist. Crowds eventually find the source of entertainment which are looking
for and come together in the circus.

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In the second place, ? will analyze the characters of the story ”Hunger
Artist”. The most outstanding character is the hunger artist in the story. He
is the protagonist. He is devoted himself to his fasting. He wants to be
perfect about his act of fasting and breaks the record by fasting more than 40
days but he fails to attract people’s attention. I am convinced that he is a
round character. The reason that he is not satisfied with his performance and
he wants to fast more in the beginning of the story. However, he notices that
he will not succeed in getting people’s attention by fasting at the end of the
story. The other character is the hunger artist’s manager. The manager seems
friendly against the hunger artist as if the manager helps the hunger artist,
but the manager does not let the hunger artist exceed 40 days because of the
economic reasons not taking care of the hunger artist.  As a result, the manager is the antagonist.
When we look over the overseer, he attends the story later. He is in the charge
of the circus. He is the last person who sees the hunger artist’s death, but he
neglects. Two young ladies are minor characters. They also seem to help the hunger
artist but they do not. Audience has also a crucial effect over the hunger
artist. They are the antagonist. After the audience begins to dislike and ignore
the hunger artist’s show, his celebrity gradually decreases. Lastly, the
panther who is full of life and powerful takes the hunger artist’s place after
he has died.

The other matter is related to conflict. There are three types of
conflicts. Internal conflict is between man and himself. Although the hunger
artist has fame in the society, he could not satisfy with his great performance
and he wants to fast forever so he wants to be the best However, the hunger
artist comes to his senses and this conversation happens between the overseer
and the hunger artist at the end of the story: ”I always wanted you to admire
my fasting,” said the hunger artist. ”We do admire it,” said the overseer.
”But you shouldn’t admire it,” said the hunger artist. The other conflict is
between man and society. The hunger artist 
is regarded as a liar and fraud by the audience because people do not
believe that hunger is so easy but to tell the truth, the real cheat is the
audience. There is a quotation from the story that reinforces the opinion: ”He
labored honestly, but the world was cheating him of his reward.” The last
conflict is between man and man. While the hunger artist has strength to be
able to fast more than 40 days, his manager does not allow him to fast. The
hunger artist’s dreams are prevented from realizing for the sake of people’s

          Another topic to analyze in the story
is symbols. First one of the symbols is hunger. It represents the hunger
artist’s feelings of dissatisfaction. No matter how famous he becomes, the
hunger artist remains unsatisfied and troubled in spirit. The other element is
food. It symbolizes the lust for the life. To illustrate this point, the hunger
artist says that he could not find the food he liked. Actually, the food
represents joy in life so he is not pleased with himself and life. Cage also
has a hidden meaning. It shows us the hunger artist’s alienation from the
society. The barrier of the cage symbolizes that most people do not understand
what the hunger artist is doing. As for panther, it completes the hunger
artist’s defective qualities. It is much more pleased in comparison with the
hunger artist because it does not need anything like sparking the audience’s
interest except for food. Lastly, the process of the fasting that includes in
40 days may be associated with the Christ’s forty-day period in the desert
while facing with the Satan’s temptations.

Finally, I would like to mention themes in the story. In my view, the
writer wants to give this social message about time. Time always changes and
there is nothing that the time could not have an influence over. For instance,
in this story, fasting starts to become unpopular after a certain time. Come to
think of it, Apple has unveiled iPhone 8 and some people have had great
passionate for it in this day and age. However, nobody will guarantee that it
will keep up to date forever. I mean to say that iPhone 9 will be released
imminently. There is another message that is underscored in the story is
fruitlessness of the hunger. The hunger artist thinks of fulfilling his spiritual
satisfaction through hunger, but fasting does not become beneficial for him both
physically and spiritually. The other theme of the story is pride. Even if the
hunger artist becomes a great artist, he could not be contended with what you
have. When the audience starts not to appreciate his performance, he uses his
pride to improve his performance but he falls through. Lastly, his pride leads
him to become isolated from the audience, so his art is misunderstood and he
begins to suffer. Suffering does not help to improve the audience’s lack of

When we glance over the Franz Kafka’s life, we find out his eating
disorder and he catches deadly form of the tuberculosis, so health and
nutrition problems are discussed in his works. This is a short part from the
story: ”I could not find the food ? liked. If ? found it, believe me, ? should
have made no fuss.” Franz Kafka is also vegetarian and very opposite of a
butcher who is talked about the story

All in all, as R. Buckminster Fuller said “You never change things by
fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that
makes the existing model obsolete.”  As
can be understood, the hunger artist displays his performance without any
change day in day out in the town center, so fame of the fasting becomes
unfashionable even if he continues fasting in a different place. Therefore, the
hunger artist is defeated by change at the end of the story. Generally
speaking, we should always take change into consideration otherwise, there may
be some outcomes, namely isolation from the society, misunderstanding and
becoming arrogant in the society.