A Hunger Artist Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

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In "A Hunger Artist," what does it mean when the artist says "I always wanted you to admire my fasting"? Why does Kafka end the story as he does?

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The short story "A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka is an allegory that can be interpreted several different ways. Kafka begins the tale by reminiscing about a time in the past when professional hunger artists were popular and crowds would come to watch them.

The hunger artist of the title seems to take his job seriously. Although people are assigned to watch him so that he doesn't eat, he wouldn't think of secretly eating during a period of fasting. In fact, he would like to fast longer than the forty-day limit that his boss has set. When the forty-day period is up, there is a well-attended ceremony during which the hunger artist is supposed to break his fast. However, he is miserable during these times, reluctant to eat and wanting only to extend his fast.

Eventually fasting professionally goes out of fashion. The public goes on to other attractions. The hunger artist moves to a circus where he is mainly ignored. He finds one benefit in the...

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