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What are the Postcolonial elements in A Hunger Artist?

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semou1 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 25, 2011 at 11:36 PM via web

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What are the Postcolonial elements in A Hunger Artist?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 26, 2011 at 3:35 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that some of the Postcolonial elements in Kafka's work has to relate to how the artist is perceived by the public and how he perceives himself.  There is a sizeable gap between both sets of perceptions.  The Hunger Artist is fundamentally misunderstood by the public.  He believes that the public lacks the full appreciation of his art and the sacrifices made for it.  In the same sense, there is a gap between the relationship between indigenous expressions of reality and the Eurocentric understanding of reality.  The same gap and filter that prevents full appreciation of the artist in much the same way that race and racial perceptions prevent full understanding between groups of people in Postcolonial literature.  The hunger artist resents the fact that he is paraded and put on display for others' voyeuristic curiosities and that there is not a true discourse behind what he does and why he does it.  The attention span of the audience is minimal, something that an artist like himself resents.  In the same light, Postcolonial literature focuses on how indigenous customs and practices are seen in one light by Eurocentric reality, while its indepth and ingrained understandings make it appear quite different.  In this, there is another Postcolonial paralell between the hunger artist and the veil of perception that envelops Postcolonial literature.

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