A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka

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What drives someone to do strange things like the protagonist of A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka? Do any people do anything similar to the hunger artist today?

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This is a very interesting question. The starting point for an answer is the difference between fiction and real life. A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka is not a piece of journalism, but instead a work of imagination. Many literary works -- or movies or video games -- describe characters doing things that people would not (or could not) do in real life. That is part of what makes literature valuable, in that it allows us to explore things with our imagination that might not be smart or feasible choices in reality.

Extreme fasting is actually used as a form of protest in many cultures.  The early suffragettes used hunger strikes as a...

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