A Hunger Artist: The Discussion Begins
- Hey All,
Happy April Fool's!! We were all supposed to read "A Hunger Artist" for today and I hope everyone did. I assume you are all waiting for me to make the first post. So here is one take on the story that I came up with. I am sure there will be many others.
Okay, I am going to start with the religious interpretation, which was the first one that struck me, so that's the one you all get. Fasting is of course, a religious practice. I believe it is supposed to make you closer to God. A little sacrifice to acknowledge his bigger one? (At least for Christianity, anyway) But, that is not the Artist's perceived intention and there is no mention of God in the story. Everyone else believes the artist is there for the money, trying to get his fifteen minutes of fame as it were but in reality i think he is searching for a oneness with himself and the world. He wants people to understand him and love him and fasting is the only way he knows how to get them to do that. The first time we see him, he is fasting for forty days, another Biblical refrence for Lent, the time of fasting and giving up things that we usually like. Now I don't know about any of you but most people I know give up some kind of food for Lent. Also, the forty days thing refers to Noah and the Ark. God trying to rid the world of evil with forty days and nights of rain. Maybe the hunger artist is trying to rid himself of what he sees as humanities evils over those forty days. Maybe it was just a convienient number. Personally, I like the conection to Lent better, it is a bit less of a stretch. But, in the end he is forgotton, perhaps the way many people forget about their religion in favor of the newer more intersting things we have found in science and the world (represented by the panther?) or the way we give up on Lent fasting about halfway through it? He seems to be on a bit of a religious quest as well, trying to fast better than anyone ever has and make a name for himself, make people like him, make himself be seen.
What do you all make of his dying words, perhaps the greatest line in the entire story, "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" ?
I think it is about him looking for something he can't find. It isn't about food. Not eating is what he uses to make him feel like he is in control. I think he really just wants to be noticed and respected and loved. No one trusts that he doesn't eat, no one really seems to treat him like a human being. He is locked in a cage like an animal and no one cares about what he wants or what he thinks. The impresario makes up answers for him, the girls holding him up cry becuse he seems scary, the circus and the spectators at it completly forget about him. I think all he wants it to be noticed in this sea of people. Which brings up the larger idea that all anyone wants is to be noticed in this sea of people. As an amatuer writer I can kind of get where he is coming from, all we want is for someone to recognize our art for what it is. To really get what we are trying to do. Sometimes the words get in the way, the acts get in the way of something that we can't show through words or acts but it is the only way we have to convey it and we want people to really see what we are trying to do, not just what we are doing.
Wow, that took a lot of writing. And, I'm not even sure I made sense, but that is one take on Kafka' Artist. I'm sure I could come up with more but I want to see what everybody else thinks. Come on Kids let's get a dialogue going! Somebody write something and we all respond with our own thoughts. And don't be afraid of not making sense or throwing anything weird out there (although stuff like Kafka's an alien will not be taken seriously by me;))we are all just in this for the fun of it. Can't wait to start talking. Oh, and write your ideas for the next story too. Maybe In the Penal Colony, I always like that one or the tried and true Metamorphosis? Anyone else got any ideas Let us know. I don't want to be the only one picking stuff for us to read, we all should be enjoying this. Hope to hear from you all, my fellow Kafka lovers,
"I want to live, I want to experience the universe, and I want to eat pie." - Urgo