A Hunger Artist Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

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Suggest reasons for Kafka's selection of an expert in fasting (rather than a priest or singer) as the central figure in the story.

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I think that one reason why the artist in Kafka's story has to be a hunger artist is to reflect the condition of alienation that drives his art.  Unlike a priest, who recognizes that there is a transcendent force in the divine, and the singer, who can recognize that there is a transcendent force in their song talents, the hunger artist is an artist because of the alienation he experiences.  He rejects what the world presents and thus self- annihilation is his only response to it.  Consider what he says about his relationship to food:  "...because I couldn’t find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else.”  The...

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