Is the story symbolic of something, or the character?
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Although the Hunger Artist is a person, it is more significant that his involvement in the story’s bizarre action invites interpretation as symbolism and allegory. He may be seen as a general symbol for human beings: Like sound in the middle of a forest, we have no reality and identity unless we are understood and supported by others. If a reader considers the story as a spectator event, the records the Hunger Artist sets in his fasting symbolize the achievement that is comparable to records in fields such as politics, art, music, theater, and athletics. But the records do not last, the achievement is soon forgotten, and newer interests, such as the energetic panther that replaces The Artist, consume the public. This abandonment by the Artist’s public is comparable to the sense of anomie, doubt, and alienation that has been a subject in a number of modern philosophies.
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