Friday, November 26, 2010

The Starving Artist

Kafka, Franz. “The Starving Artist” Berlin: Verlag Die Schmiede
1924. Print

Kafka’s The Starving Artist is a story about the art of fasting. The artist is determined, in his passion. He starves himself for 40 days at a time, since the impresario believes that the crowd loses interest in the fast after 40 days, so that is the limit the artist can fast. The Impresario is his ring master so to speak, always bringing in a crowd, and doing promotions during the daytime; while during the nights they have 3 guards watch over him, so they can make sure he doesn’t eat anything. However some of these guards just ignore him, and they taunt him with specks of food. The Artist despises these kinds of men, and on such nights he musters enough energy, so that he can sing a song against these disrespectful men. All over the world people are losing interest but the artist ultimately grows more concerned with his pursuing his self determination, by breaking his own record. He leaves his partnership with the Impresario, and he sells himself to the circus. They set him up in a cage, where everyone in the crowd, can see him as they walk by on their way to the animal cages. His fast surpasses the 40 days and goes for so long, they’ve lost track of his day count and he continues the fast until the one day he dies in the cage. He then is nonchalantly replaced by a young lively black panther.

The world’s perception of reality (where food is concerned) is opposite of the artists. He knows that he needs very little food, to survive for long periods of time. However the common practice is to eat everyday. When audience members is in wonder at how thin the artist is he in turn claims its easy, however the artist’s industry is a dying breed, not many people won’t desire to enter that new world, too comfortable with their more average and widely accepted lifestyle.

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