In “A Hunger Artist”, Kafka comments on the life of the modern artist through the life of a hunger artist. Kafka comments that the modern artist is always dissatisfied with his or her art. The modern artist also is trapped in a harsh and capricious world, in which the artist struggles to maintain his or her audience by pushing the extreme, but are cheated because they do not receive his or her recognition. Finally, in “A Hunger Artist” Kafka refers to the modern artist’s struggle between the need for fame and the need for isolation. As a modern artist, Kafka has experienced the qualities that characterize the modern artist and his experiences have greatly influenced his work, particularly “A Hunger Artist”.
The modern artist, as seen with the hunger artist, will always have dissatisfaction with his or her art. The hunger artist was dissatisfied with his work because he was dissatisfied with himself. He was dissatisfied because fasting was easy for him. Although he reveled to the world his secret, the world did not understand him and some even had the “imprudence” to call him a cheat. The hunger artist was also dissatisfied because he wanted to fast for more than forty days, but the impresario refused. Critic Frederick Karl remarks that the hunger artist could only find satisfaction when he achieves purification the closer he comes to the fine line when life and death touch.i[i] Kafka, a modern artist, was dissatisfied with his works. He attempted to achieve purification and perfection through a strict diet and lifestyle, but he failed to make his writings perfect and demanded that his works be burned after he died.ii[ii]
According to Kafka,…
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…position in society. The modern artist is an outsider, or rather, a joke that “happened to be in fashion”. The artist is doomed to rejection and isolation by a harsh and capricious world.
i Karl, Frederick. Franz Kafka: Representative Man. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1991.
ii Updike, John. Foreword to Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories. New York: Schoken Books, 1971.
iii Winkler, R.O.C.. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism Vol. 2. New York: Gale Research, 1981
iv Karl, Frederick. Franz Kafka: Representative Man. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1991.
v Karl, Frederick. Franz Kafka: Representative Man. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1991.
vi Karl, Frederick. Franz Kafka: Representative Man. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1991.
Isolation in Brave New World
Isolation in Brave New World
“If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.” -John “The Savage”
In the Brave New World, people who are different from the normal standard are alienated and isolated from society because of their individuality. The society of the Brave New World is structured and ordered – the government attempts to control everything. Alienation in the Brave New World can be categorized into three areas, appearance, intellect, and morals.
Bernard Marx was alienated in the Brave New World because of his general appearance. As an Alpha Plus, Bernard was unusually short and ugly. Suggested by Fanny, Bernard’s condition resulted from an error when he was still in a bottle, the workers “thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his blood surrogate.” Bernard did not fit in the structured order of the Brave New World and was therefore shunned by others. The error resulted in Bernard developing outside the barriers of his caste level. His ugliness and short stature led Bernard to become a perpetual outsider, alienated by society. As an outsider, Bernard was cynical of the order and structure of the Brave New World. He eschewed Electric Golf, and other social amusements in favor of loneliness and solidarity activities, such as, thinking. Bernard attempted to find a way “to be happy in some other way,” in his own way, not the established way.
In addition to alienation because of appearance, alienation can result from extreme intellect, or exceptional gifts of talent. Helmholtz Watson, an emotional engineer, was “a little too able” in his work. As Bernard was isolated from a physical defect, Helmholtz was isolated from mental excess. Despite being an “Escalato…
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…re different and attempts to either ridicule, exemplify, or ignore them. In the Brave New World, society aims to preserve the homologous nature of living. With strict rules, crowd mentality and community actives the Brave New World attempts to get rid of the individual. Hypnopedia messages such as “When the individual feels, the community reels,” and “Everybody belongs to everyone else,” the Brave New World attempts to diminish the value of individuality and seeks instead to promote the idea of society first. Bernard, Helmholtz, and John are the few individuals of the Brave New World. They differ from the rest of society, because they recognize their uniqueness and realize that they are apart from society. It is because of their self-realization of their individuality that they are condemned to be ostracized from society and to live outside the Brave New World.