Absurdism in Kafka’s A Hunger Artist

Abstract

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Albert Camus’ philosophy of the Absurd has been used as one of the many interpretative dialogues for Franz Kafka’s literary works, particularly his short story, A Hunger Artist. This paper explored the various facets of absurdism described in The Myth of Sisyphus and connects it with the short story by arguing that A Hunger Artist has more to reveal than its narrative content. Examining the similarities and differences between Camus’ Sisyphus and the protagonist of A Hunger Artist, helps produce absurdist interpretations of the text. The question of finding meaning in an indifferent universe and the predicament of being wedged in an endless loop of a monotonous cycle of life is explored until the very end of the short story. The dilemma of the protagonist, the disillusionment with society fused with the complicated reality of the human condition are all elements present in A Hunger Artist that help identify existentialism through fiction.  When seen through the absurdist perspective, the hunger artist stands as a figure, depicting the disunity between man and the universe, and the internal and external conflict between the rational and irrational in an unresponsive universe. Analysing this fiction through the philosophy of absurdism generates significant standpoints that bring forth the author’s individual reasoning as a consolation to the questioning, existentialist mind.

Keywords: Absurdism, Camus, Kafka, hunger artist, isolation, Illusion of freedom

References

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Published
2022-12-31
How to Cite
Bhutto, P. A., Habib, Z., & Laghari, T. (2022). Absurdism in Kafka’s A Hunger Artist. Journal of History and Social Sciences, 13(2), 134-144. https://doi.org/10.46422/jhss.v13i2.230
Section
Articles