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Word Count: 1,105
Symbolism of the cage in Kafkas A Hunger Artist Grant Kohler The cage is a symbol of many things throughout the story most noticeably irony but the cage is also a symbol of animalism in the artist and a symbol of security through change Irony is a tool used by the author in the plot of the story which yields a resolution that is the opposite or at least very different than what was expected from the characters The protagonist of the Kafka story is an ironic character because he feels the strongest when he fasts and becomes nauseous when he eats food whereas most people feel nauseous when they do not eat food This is quite autobiographical because Kafka suffered from tuberculosis and his weight would often fluctuate between 100-140 pounds The dialogue is also rather ironic The artist will make a statement one that the people would not think of as ironic and when they reply to him they say what he does not want to hear I always wanted you to admire my fasting said the hunger artist We do admire it said the overseer affably But you shouldnt admire it said the hunger artist Earlier in the story Kafka tells us that the hunger artist was required to stop fasting that his boss imposed a 40-day limit on the fast When he is forced to stop fasting and is removed from the cage by ladies Kafka points out that the eyes of the ladies who were apparently friendly and in reality so cruel is another example of this irony Why Because they are aiding him in his weakened condition as the fast ends but they are cheating the artist out of his ability to fast even longer He knows that he can fast almost indefinitely since he felt there were no limits to his capacity for fasting Its strange how Kafkas translators chose the word capacity a
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