A Hunger Artist (POV)

A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka is written from a Third Person (Omniscient) point a view because we are able to distinguish how more than one character feels or thinks. For example, speaking for the hunger artist, “He had looked forward with delight to the crowd pouring around him, until he became convinced only too quickly-and even the most stubborn, almost deliberate self-deception could not hold out against the experience-that, judging by their intentions, most of these people were, time and again without exception, only visiting the menagerie”

When one of the girls had helped carry the Hunger Artist “lay against one of the women, who appealed for help with flustered breath, for she had not imagined her post of honor would be like this”

When the Impresario had to deal with the hunger artist’s tantrums,  “… the hunger artist responded with an outburst of rage and began to shake the cage like an animal, frightening everyone. But the Impresario had a way of punishing moments like this, something he was happy to use.”

This story is Third Person point of view because the main character isn’t telling his own story. There are no use of the words “I, I’m, me, my, etc.”. Someone else is telling his story. These are all examples of Omniscient Third Person point of view because they provide insight on more than one character; their intentions, thoughts, and reactions. When reading this story I was very confused as to why a guy who starves himself was considered an art. Regardless, I found it amusing how it pained the artist to be around people who misinterpreted his art, but how that very scrutiny is what kept his career going. He thrived off the attention of others. He saddened as time passed stuck in the same cycle of being misunderstood and the need of acknowledgment.

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7 thoughts on “A Hunger Artist (POV)

  1. Duane

    When you stated “I found it amusing how it pained the artist to be around people who misinterpreted his art, but how that very scrutiny is what kept his career going.” helped me see this story in a different perspective. First seeing the story as just a story but now relating the story from the eye of artist in reality. What I mean is that in reality, when an artist creates a painting, drawing, song, beats, that artist is creating with a thought in mind and through feelings and emotions. When that creation is then released for others to see or listen to they may not get the same feeling(s)/emotion(s) that the creator did. That’s where I now believe the word ‘Artist’ is added to the title, because of what the hunger artist was set on display as art for others who couldn’t necessarily see his motive but seen it in a way that they can understand and how they wanted to interpret it which is what kept his career going, the constant attention caused from misunderstood interpretations. Artist, in reality, may continue also to create art because of the attention, praise, or enjoyment of it. This is the connection I now saw when you stated that in your post, so thanks.

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    1. Jody R. Rosen

      I think of the term artist in the same way that we would refer to a street artist, or a street performer–his medium is his body, and his tool is starvation. but that contradiction Yasmin raises and Duane points back to is so important: he performs for them knowing they’ll look, but also knowing they won’t entirely get it or believe it.

      What I found even more contradictory with him being an artist was his reason for starving himself. It became less about art since it was more a function of his lack of taste for anything. Is he even an artist, then? Put another way, if artists suffer for their art, does the hunger artist?

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  2. Rukhshona Rasulova

    In the stories knowing narrator’s role is very important. As you said in this story its the third person point of view (Omniscient) and narrator was able to go deeper in and can tell how the one or more character’s feeling or thinkings. The hunger artist was very passionate with his art and he always wanted his audience to know how he actually felt about not eating for a long time was easier for him. And he felt sad because people always though he had food secretly and without it he wouldn’t albe to last long. However, hunger artist never ate or drink food secretly and he always wanted his audience to know this.

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  3. Tyra

    I agree with your statement, “Someone else is telling his story. These are all examples of Omniscient Third Person point of view because they provide insight on more than one character; their intentions, thoughts, and reactions.” Throughout the text we are basically being told about the main characters actions and thoughts instead of hearing them from himself.

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  4. Mahnoor Sheikh

    I think it would be interesting if this story were retold by either an audience members point of view or the hunger artist himself. Mainly because I feel the opinion his art would reshape the tone. The hunger artist, melancholy that his ability questioned and his art unappreciated. Or an audience member either captivated or repulsed by him, questioning how anyone could consider his art, entertaining.

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  5. Jody R. Rosen

    When I was reading this story for class, after not having read it in a long time–probably since I read it in college–I was looking to figure out which type of third-person narration it was. I am always looking for examples of third-person objective because I find it so rarely in my reading. As I read through, I notices instances that get inside the head of the hunger artist, so I categorized it as third-person limited. I didn’t read the examples Yasmin gives from others’ points of view as examples of their interior thinking, more as instances of what an outsider could read from their expressions or speech. But the way Yasmin gathered all of these, I’m convinced now that the narrator dips into the consciousness of these other characters. Although we don’t go deep into any character’s thoughts, these are instances of knowing more than an observer would know. Thanks for making this clear to us!

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