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Worthless Sacrifice

Essay by   •  February 12, 2012  •  Essay  •  911 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,713 Views

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I saw so many unhappy artists in my life. They get addicted to drugs and alcohol and even commit suicides because of their dissatisfaction. I always wondered what the causes of these behaviors. What prompts them to react these extreme ways? In the critical essay "A Hunger Artist: Overview" Grace Eckley observes the same problems. She reveals the true nature of Kafka's protagonist, explaining in details why it is psychologically difficult to be a rejected artist and why his internal world becomes meaningless in every way. I completely support Eckley's reasoning, and will argue that a misunderstood artist's life will be always unhappy and purposeless.

First of all, it is crucial to understand that art is a mutual acceptance between an artist and his or audience. Art is always created for a specific audience. An artist would never exist if he or she didn't seek for the audience's attention and recognition. When artists see any reward from the fans, their life gains the meaning. Artists' success in life directly depends on their audience. They need it like air; they rely on it like a drug. The reader can notice how proud and respected the artist felt when Kafka wrote: "At one time the whole town took a lively interest in the hunger artist. Everybody wanted to see him at least once a day. The artist gave a courteous nod, answering questions with a constrained

smile." Positive public reactions motivated and inspired him for his art. He trusted his audience, and any distrust from their side brought pain and psychological intolerance. Giving the example about how suspicious behavior hurt the artist, Kafka says: "Nothing annoyed the artist more than these watchers; they made him miserable." When people's curiosity and belief in the artist fades, his life fades gradually in response; the same way as his body reacts to hunger. It impacts not only his professional career, but also his physical life. Kafka's character was lusting for public appreciation, saying: "I always wanted you to admire my fasting." After these words he died. It explains how he deliberately devoted himself to his audience. He sacrificed his own interests, but even more important, he sacrificed his biological needs which are essential for life. Eckley describes his meaningless existence, stating: "With a martyr complex, he exploits his animal nature: living in a cage" and "the artist conversely refuses both food and exercise." He lost his identity as a person. It is not a coincidence that Kafka doesn't give his artist a name, pointing out that he is not unique and he is one of many similar. When the hunger artist lost his audience and when the connection between him and his fans was ruined, his life terminated, emotionally and physically.

Secondly, any audience seeks entertainment in art, and if an artist is unable to provide it, his

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