Franz Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist” depicts an artist not content with society, a perfect example of an existentialist. The persona is a prisoner of his own mind and lives with a life-long struggle of feelings that no one but himself fully understands and appreciates his art of fasting. Audiences doubt his ability to fast for so long without a little cheat now and then. No matter how famous he becomes, The Hunger Artist remains unsatisfied and troubled in spirit. He feels he can fast so much longer than the forty-day period he is confined to but spectator’s lose interest and do not give him the chance to show them his full potential. Once he gets the chance to show his full potential, no one pays attention to him and he goes unnoticed until they find him to weak to even speak. The artist freely chooses to maintain a profession, which bars him from humanity and the flow of life, its physical, social and even spiritual pleasures.
Existentialism pursues meaning in existence and seeks value for the existing individual. Quoted from the encyclopedia:
” Existentialism tends to view human beings as subjects in an indifferent, objective, often ambiguous, and absurd universe in which meaning is not provided by the natural order, but rather can be created, however provisionally
and unstably, by human beings’ actions and interpretations”. (wikipedia). The hunger artist is a perfect example of this. Throughout the story the artist depicts a mood of anxiety, emptiness, dissatisfaction with himself. He chooses to live this absurd lifestyle, fasting for long periods of time, believing that people will appreciate his art. Instead he gets doubtfulness from spectators who lose interest rather quickly. This keeps the hunger artist feeling unsatisfactory with himself and constantly yearning for more.
“ Why stop now? Why should he be cheated of the fame he