Examine the scene where the impresario shows the public photographs of the hunger artist.  What is the basis for his actions and why does this upset the hunger artist so much? 

StephanieRR | Student

The hunger artist doesn't want to eat food at all, and finds fasting incredibly easy. However, his audience doesn't believe him and people either call him dishonest or take pity on him and try to sneak food to him. Both of these reactions cause the hunger artist to become frustrated and depressed. The impresario knows full well that the hunger artist can fast for a long time, but he limits the fasts to only forty days at a time because the audience will lose interest in the attraction after that. Furthermore, the impresario tells the hunger artist he has to make it seem like fasting is very difficult and painful for those forty days, and his first forced food has to be in public. All of these conditions are set in order to draw the largest audience and keep them entertained for as long as possible. This of course just makes the hunger artist feel worse. When someone suggests that the reason he seems to down is due to his fasting too much, the hunger artist is furious because it is yet another misunderstanding of why he does what he does. However, the impresario sees this as another opportunity to make the hunger artist's performance seem more believable and draw more attention, so he shows photographs of the hunger artist looking starved from his fasting so that everyone will think he is suffering during his fasting. It is just another attempt to captivate the public. The hunger artist knows he is perfectly capable of longer fasts and is only unhappy when he thinks about being forced to eat and not being allowed to fast for as long as he desires. He also knows the impresario is aware of this fact and is simply showing these photographs and continuing to claim the artist is in pain for his own gain, and this just makes him more upset.

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A Hunger Artist

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