The artist's sense of alienation is partly a function of his lifelong struggle over the feeling that no one but he himself fully understands and appreciates his art. As one critic has explained, the hunger artist represents "a symbol or allegory of the suffering artist in society." He alone knows the truth about his accomplishments: "to fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of nonunderstanding, was impossible." "Just try to explain to anyone the art of fasting! Anyone who has no feeling for it cannot be made to understand it." He in fact blames the "whole world" for not granting him the "satisfaction" he feels her deserves: "It was not the hunger artist who was cheating, but the whole world was cheating him of his reward."
A Hunger Artist