A Hunger Artist 1924, by Franz Kafka (l883-1924)and Bartleby the Scrivener 1853, by Herman Melville.In an essay, compare the hunger artist with Melville`s Bartleby. Consider the origins, rationale, consequences, and significance of their behavior.
A Hunger Artist Bartleby the Scrivener
The short stories A Hunger Artist and Bartleby the Scrivener illustrate two very deviant characters . They both represent the human being ‘s whimsical desire to rebel against social forces and community standards .In A Hunger Artist we see a man who refuses to accept the fact that times were changing and that his craft was no longer fashionable or entertaining . He is caught in a situation where he is left without any choice because he did not know how to do anything except to be a [banner_entry_middle]
hunger artist . People no longer paid attention or gave importance to his activities because there were other forms of entertainment more understandable and perceived to be worthy of the community ‘s time and money . He expressed regret over the change and he longed for the fame he once had because of his profession . Still , he refused to give in to society ‘s demands and find a different line of work . He died a broken man because of this
In Bartleby the Scrivener , we see a man who acting differently from everyone else in his profession . He was an introvert who did nothing else than work . Nevertheless , he was allowed to continue his job because he was very efficient at what he did and accomplished much more than his peers . Later , his employer (the lawyer ) would discover that Bartleby was stubborn and would not comply with certain commands made to him by the lawyer . This situation would worsen later when he would refuse to leave the office building even when there was a change of occupants . Bartleby was misunderstood and there was no explanation to his behavior . All that the story showed were opinions and guesses by the narrator . Because of this behavior , Bartleby would later be locked up in jail and he dies but with a compassionate former employer at his side
The two characters display deviant behavior with very different results On one hand , we see the hunger artist , ignored and unappreciated . On the other hand , we see the scrivener chastised for his actions and sent to jail . Still , they both represent the people in society who are unable or unwilling to conform to its standards and expectations . The hunger artist refused to find another job for two reasons . First , he was passionate about his vocation and it was something that he was very skilled at . Second , there was nothing much else he could do . Bartleby in contrast , would have no explanation for his deviant behavior . Up to the very end of the story , he remained a mystery , even to the narrating character . Only this much can be said about Bartleby : He was a person who wanted to be himself and to be left alone to do what he wanted . He was an individualist to an extreme degree and all he even wanted was to do his job the way he wanted to do it
These two characters symbolize the `black sheep ‘ of society – persons who… [banner_entry_footer]
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