A Hunger Artist Essay

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Kafka appraises this development appropriately when he states: "I can only see decline everywhere ... I do not mean that earlier generations were essentially better than ours, but only younger; that was their great advantage, their memory was not so overburdened as ours today." We may not relegate this apercu to the realm of a bon mot or chance remark. The artist quite aptly points his finger at a contemporary malaise, namely our "overburdened memory." The pathological symptoms concomitant with exaggerated stress on man's intellectual faculty could not but be seen as a danger signal by Kafka's sensitive psyche. It is for this reason that he warned: "they [our fathers] did not know what we can guess at contemplating the course of history: that change begins in the soul before it appears in ordinary existence." Psychologically speaking, Kafka hints here at the phenomenon of dissociation with reference to the...

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A Hunger Artist from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.