The very fact that the main character in “The Hunger Artist” is an artist means that his starvation is (or is attempting to be) symbolic. Pieces of art, by definition, represent parts of life, express the inexpressible, show the unseen, or – most simply – stand in for something else.
Here we have an artist whose work of art is not only his own body – the way it might be for a dancer, actor, comedian, etc. – it is the mistreatment of his body. Furthermore, we have an audience willing to watch self-inflicted pain.
Consider both versions of “The Hunger Artist” – Kafka’s prose and Crumb and Mairowitz’s graphic novel. Citing specific moments from the stories – as well as from Foster and the lectures as you see fit – write a detailed essay about the following:
- What does the Huger Artist’s performance symbolize and why has he chosen starvation as his means of expression?
- What is Kafka saying about the relationship between an artist and his or her audience?
- According to Kafka, must that audience always involve someone suffering?
- Given the two versions of the story, in which ways does the graphic novel succeed at being Kafka-esque and in which ways is the prose version more effective?
Writing Requirements (APA format)
- 2-3 pages (approx. 300 words per page), not including the reference page
- 1-inch margins
- Double spaced
- 12-point Times New Roman font
- Reference page (minimum of 3 outside resources)