A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka

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in  "A Hunger Artist", how would you characterize this story's tone?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The tone of Franz Kafka's "A Hunger Artist" is so uncanny and at the same time so matter-of-fact that critics have invented a special name for it. The tone of this story is "Kafkaesque." It is very similar to the tone of some of his other stories, such as "The Metamorphosis" and "The Penal Colony." Reading a Kafkaesque story is like having a bad dream from which it seems impossible to wake up. Something horrible and nearly but not quite impossible is happening, but the description is so detailed and so "real" that it is undeniable. It is the unique tone of many of Kafka's stories, as well as at least two of his novels, that has called for the creation of the word "Kafkaesque." No doubt Kafka, like many European writers, was influenced by the bizarre tales of the great American poet and fiction writer Edgar Allan Poe. But Poe's tales seem relatively naive and wholesome in comparison with Kafka's neurotic nightmares. With Kafka's there is often a sense of despondency, hopelessness, and...

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Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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