In Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”, he describes the horrifying story of a man who imprisons himself in a cage for forty days without eating because of an inner desire to receive attention from others. The whole town flocks to watch the man accomplish his great feat, and he would “let them feel how skinny he was” to show off his great accomplishment (Kafka 322). However, the man finds it difficult to complete his fast when the watchmen, who were left outside his cage to ensure he kept true to his fast, leave him to “give the hunger artist the chance to take a little refreshment, which they assumed he could produce from some secret stash” (Kafka 323). But, if the guarding…show more content…
Through this story, Franz shows the great danger of allowing people’s attention to become one’s source of happiness and fulfillment. In the story, the man’s hunger for attention leads him to starve himself so he can impress others and gain their notice (Kafka 323). However, he fails to realize that searching for attention from others will drain him out. Since he will have to keep finding ways to impress others with his actions to retain their attention, he will live his life to please others and neglect to care for himself. Once people ceased noticing him, the man desperately tries to find a new way to regain their attention by beating his forty-day fasting record. However, this decision leads him to starve himself to death (Kafka 327-28). Just like the man’s desires to gain attention ultimately kills him, Franz shows that people hurt themselves when they make gaining people’s attention their purpose in life. Like the man in the story, people who try to please others trap themselves in an endless, unfulfilling cycle of putting on a show to attract others attention and admiration.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus tells believers “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”