Themes In A Hunger Artist

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The two texts A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka and A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor are driven by similar literary points of views. Both stories convey the notion of selfishness by limiting the point of view to encompass only the perspectives of the main characters. A focus on one perspective establishes a close connection between the characters’ motivations and the reality of the worlds. In A Hunger Artist, a third person limited point of view is employed to emphasize the narrowed and consuming focus of the main character’s thoughts. The hunger artist cares only about his own performance and the positive reactions from his fasting without consideration of his viewers’ thoughts. The hunger artist is never fulfilled due to his inability to publicize his fasting skills, which is his only concern and which consequently blinds him from everyone and everything else. He sees the restriction of his abilities as a personal affront against himself, believing that everyone else only wants to “[…] rob him of the glory of fasting longer” (Kafka 712). His feelings of constriction over his forty day fasting limit overshadow the audience’s disgust at his emaciated form or their disinterest over a repetitive act. Third person limited allows the hunger artist’s obsessive nature to create heavy tension in the narrative through an incompatibility between his goals and his reality. The hunger artist goes as far as to attribute his “skeleton thinness” to “dissatisfaction with
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