A Hunger Artist Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

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Provide your understanding of the central theme in "A Hunger Artist." Consider the relationship between the artist and his audience.

The central theme in "A Hunger Artist" involves the problem of artistic production. The ability of the hunger artist to fully realize his talent for fasting is limited by the attention span and intelligence of his audience, but without an audience, his artistic achievement and self sacrifice go without notice.

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"A Hunger Artist" is an allegory about the artistic process. The hunger artist is famous for his ability to fast. He travels from city to city, displayed in a cage, and people come to watch him fast or to make sure that he does not secretly eat anything. He has a manager who promotes him and who decides when it is time to move on to the next city. Usually this is after forty days of fasting.

The hunger artist is committed to his "art" of fasting and frustrated by his manager's handling of him and his audience's limited attention span. He knows he can achieve even longer fasts, but there is no "market" for such extended fasts. In a way, there is a disconnect between his performances for the crowd and his actual artistic...

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