A Hunger Artist

by

Franz Kafka

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The Manager / Impresario Character Analysis

For most of the hunger artist’s career—if it can be called that—the manager presides over his act, taking care of the business dealings and apparently looking after the well-being of his investment. But the impresario is a capitalist through and through, and only cares about the hunger artist as a means of making profit. He is also a deceitful figure: when the hunger artist complains angrily about being limited to forty-day fasts, the manager slyly convinces the public that his anger is due to his poor condition (when in fact it’s because the hunger artist is depressed at having his “great art” interrupted). The manager is concerned with entertainment, not art. He orchestrates gaudy celebrations at the end of the forty-day fasts, complete with brass bands and flower garlands. He forces a meal on the hunger artist and squeezes him to make him seem even more weak and vulnerable. The public’s changing whims ultimately get the better of the manager and his investment, however, and after dragging the hunger artist around Europe in desperate search of an audience, they finally part ways.

The Manager / Impresario Quotes in A Hunger Artist

The A Hunger Artist quotes below are all either spoken by The Manager / Impresario or refer to The Manager / Impresario. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Artist and Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Schocken Books edition of A Hunger Artist published in 1995.
A Hunger Artist Quotes

He had never yet—that people had to concede—left his cage of his own free will. The maximum period of starvation had been set by the manager at forty days, he permitted no longer stints than that, not even in major cities, and for a very good reason. He had learned from experience that by gradually intensified publicity the interest of a city could be kept alive for forty days, but at that point the public failed, there was a perceptible drop in the level of interest.

Related Symbols: The Cage
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

So then on the fortieth day the door of the flower-garlanded cage was thrown open, an excited audience filled the amphitheatre, a brass band played, two doctors entered the cage to perform the necessary tests on the hunger artist, the results were relayed to the hall by means of a megaphone, and finally two young ladies, thrilled to have been chosen for the task, came to lead the hunger artist down a couple of steps to where a small table had been laid with a carefully assembled invalid meal.

Related Symbols: The Cage
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire A Hunger Artist LitChart as a printable PDF.
A hunger artist.pdf.medium

The Manager / Impresario Character Timeline in A Hunger Artist

The timeline below shows where the character The Manager / Impresario appears in A Hunger Artist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Hunger Artist
The Artist and Society Theme Icon
The Meaning of Existence Theme Icon
Art, Entertainment, and Capitalism Theme Icon
...hunger artist never leaves his cage of his own free will. It is always his manager that brings an end to his fasts. The manager has realized that forty days is... (full context)
The Artist and Society Theme Icon
Art, Entertainment, and Capitalism Theme Icon
On the fortieth and final day of the fasts, the manager orchestrates a big, garish ceremony to entertain the audience. There are brass bands, the cage... (full context)
Art, Entertainment, and Capitalism Theme Icon
The impresario has a crafty solution to these angry outbursts. He explains to these concerned spectators that... (full context)
The Artist and Society Theme Icon
Art, Entertainment, and Capitalism Theme Icon
...tacit arrangement a positive aversion against hungering had formed.” During those years of decline, the manager takes the hunger artist all over Europe, but has little success. Perhaps one day the... (full context)
The Artist and Society Theme Icon
Art, Entertainment, and Capitalism Theme Icon
Still dedicated to his art, the hunger artist parts ways with his manager and joins the circus—not even bothering to look at his contract. This is a large... (full context)