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Hunger is an interesting and visceral look into the writing process, as well as the conditions of young starving Scandinavian artists in the late 1800s. Over the course of the story, the narrator struggles from extreme hunger, and the often unexplored psychological side affects of this state of health consume him and cause him to behave and think strangely. His only method of earning money is to occasionally write an article for a local paper, which happens less and less frequently as his erratic mindset begins to take hold. This type of magical thinking affects his perspective in many aspects and relationships in his life, such as his relationship with "the commander."

The commander is evidently one of the editors that the narrator is attempting to submit articles to in order to sustain himself. When in the depths of his magical thinking, the narrator often uses synecdoche to describe the people around him. He describes a woman as "red dress," for example. His assertion that the editor is a "commander" tells us much about his view of the man, as he seems to be a literary inspiration to the narrator. In a brief moment of relative lucidity, he sets out to write a climax that is "worthy of the commander." It is perhaps the fact that the narrator is so inspired by the commander's work that the man's ethos "commands" him to attempt to achieve literary excellence. Whatever the case, the commander is something of a deified presence in the narrator's life.

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