A Hunger Artist Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Hunger Artist.
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Alienation & Isolation

"A Hunger Artist" is the story of one man's feelings of intense alienation and isolation. This state, however, is partly self-imposed, a necessary condition of his "art." The hunger artist spends his fasting performances, and therefore most of his life, in a cage, on display before nameless crowds. Beck has observed that his need to fast is "symbolic of his isolation from the community of men." The cage itself symbolizes the barrier between the artist and the rest of the world. During most of his fasts (which last for up to forty days), the artist sits in a meditative state, "withdrawing deep into himself, paying no attention to anyone or anything." His personal life is therefore almost completely internally, although he is constantly on public display.

Spiritual Yearning

References to spiritual yearning and religious symbolism in "A Hunger Artist" are subtle but pervasive. Critic Meno Spann has...

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This section contains 752 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Hunger Artist Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
A Hunger Artist from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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