Maybe It’s Necessary to Suffer to Succeed

Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” is about a professional faster who sits in a cage, not eating anything, for the entertainment of the town. The artist’s suffering is to be hungry; however, to him this also means success, not eating anything and being able to please the people. Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Circular Ruins” is the story of a man who wants to create the perfect man through his dream; he works so hard to create a perfect man to the point that he suffers many sleepless nights from trying so hard to dream the perfect man; however, in the end, he is able to have success in creating the perfect man. Alastair Reid’s “Curiosity” focuses on the idea that curiosity killed the cat. The cat’s success was having knowledge, but to get that knowledge he would have to suffer by dying. In the works by Kafka, Borges, and Reid the characters suffer in order to succeed in living their lives to the fullest; the idea of living life to the fullest can be seen as being successful.

In Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”, for example, the hunger artist suffers as a profession. He goes day and night without eating anything because this is his idea of reaching success. Fasting is his way of living his life to the fullest. Although the artist is suffering in order to live his life to the fullest, he is doing this because it is his art. His art is his passion, so his success is him living his life to fullest because he is making his art how he wants it to be made. The Hunger Artist’s goal is that “…during his fast the artist would never in any circumstances, not even under forcible compulsion, swallow the smallest morsel of food; the honor of his profession forbade it” (Kafka). The Artist is completely committed to the idea of never eating anything, not even a crumb. He suffers for this because “…only the artist himself could know that, he was therefore bound to be the sole completely satisfied spectator of his own fast” (Kafka). His success is his own thing, so he has to realize that for him to be the only one that cares about his success is what matters. Eventually the artist will suffer until he feels that he reaches exactly what he feels is his success. However, in order to reach that success, he sometimes has to take more suffering than initially planned. The Hunger Artist suffers so much that he dies, due to his reach for success. He suffers for his success until he dies and the circus workers find him and “…bur[y] the hunger artist, straw and all” (Kafka). The hunger artist eventually suffers to the point that he dies. He may have not necessarily wants to die, but he wants to have success. His success was the way he wanted to live his life to the fullest, and he dies for it because it shows his passion for what he wants.

The next author, Borges, who wrote “The Circular Ruins,” the story is about a man who wants to create a perfect man in his dream. The man wants to dream a man that would be real. The man’s goal is to create the perfect real man. This goal that “…[leads] him on [is] not impossible, though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man. He wanted to dream him completely, in painstaking detail…” (Borges) His only goal was to create this man, but he didn’t do this without a little suffering. The man suffers due to “all that night and the next day, the unbearable lucidity of insomnia harried him, like a hawk” (Borges). Not getting sleep is how the man suffered. He didn’t care though; he simply wanted to create the perfect man. Eventually he is able to do so, and “he saw with some bitterness that his son was ready—perhaps even impatient—to be born” (Borges). The man succeeds, and was able to live his life to the fullest by creating a real man. He created his son. This was all that he wanted, and he was able to succeed even with the suffering that he had to go through.

Finally, Reid’s poem “Curiosity” shows that curiosity can lead to success through suffering. The known saying is that “curiosity may have killed the cat” (Reid). The cat wants to know things, his goal, and he was willing to die for it. On the other hand it could be that the cat was “…curious to see what death was like” (Reid). The cat’s success was to know everything. The cat wants knowledge, and it wants to experience everything as well. The cat wants to have that knowledge, and it didn’t matter what it costed. To many people “only the curious have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all” (Reid). The cat essentially gets everything that he wants. The cat gets what he wants even though he has to suffer immensely for it. The cat lives his life to the fullest because he allows himself to have curiosity. Reid explains how the cat’s willingness to die allows it to live its life to the fullest however, the dog isn’t curious, so it doesn’t live its life to the fullest (Reid).

In Kafka, Borges, and Reid’s stories a major focus is that to succeed one must suffer. The idea that in order to live one’s life to the fullest a person may have to suffer. Everyday people go through obstacles to get what they want. Even though it isn’t to the extent of dying everyone suffers a little to succeed. Most people want to live their lives to the fullest, and living one’s life to the fullest is the way that many people succeed.

The Reality of Human Nature (Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”)

“A Hunger Artist” was written by Franz Kafka and published in 1922. The story is about an artist who puts himself in a cage and fasts for 40 days straight. The artist is the town’s entertainment, however, the town eventually gets bored with him and decides to go to the circus as a sideshow. Soon after he dies at the circus due to hunger and the circus workers bury him with his straw and is replaced by a young panther. Kafka’s story, “A Hunger Artist,” discusses how people shouldn’t settle mentally and how people get bored easily. Along with this Kafka shows the underlying factors of how people behave by showing the self honor that people have.

Everyday people settle for different things. In “The Hunger Artist,” Kafka looks at the topic of mentally settling. The Hunger Artist shows this when he says, “…because I couldn’t find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else” (340). Sometimes people will settle because going after what their true passion is can be risky, so people settle for something more safe. However, part of the purpose in life is to find your passion, no matter the risk. The Hunger Artist was willing to die, so that he wouldn’t have to settle. This is a conscious decision on his part to not take food that he didn’t want. For the artist to do this it took a lot of passion.

New and better things come out everyday, and people will drop the old like it never mattered. The townspeople eventually get tired of the Hunger Artist and his work. Kafka shows this by writing, “…the interest of the public could be stimulated by a steadily increasing pressure of advertisement, but after that the town began to lose interest, sympathetic support began notably to fall off…” (335). The Hunger Artist was the entertainment at the time, however, the people found something new to entertain themselves with and dropped the Hunger Artist like he never mattered. Human nature has always led people to look for new and better things. People behave a certain way when there is something new; they get excited for it. Even though people gets bored of watching the artist he remained true to himself.

People do different things for themselves everyday, but when doing these things they have to have self honor in order not to cheat themselves. The idea of self honor is displayed when Kafka says, “No one could possibly watch the hunger artist continuously, day and night, and so no one could produce first-hand evidence that the fast had really been rigorous and continuous; only the artist himself could know that…” (335). Since nobody watched the Hunger Artist all day and night, he had to rely on himself to not break his fast. This is the same concept for students when they do their homework they have to make sure that they don’t cheat and do it for themselves. The teachers are like the watchers; they aren’t around day and night. Both the students and the artist have to do things for themselves; they both had to do it as if no one was watching them.

Maya’s Version of A Man Walking in the Rain

A man walks in the rain enjoying a banana. What are the thoughts that go through his head while he eats his banana? As the man eats his banana, I see him looking around at everything surrounding him. He sees children splashing in puddles, people running to take cover, and people standing under an awning waiting for the rain to stop. The banana that he eats lights up the gloomy rainy day. As he eats the banana he enjoys the sweetness of it. The banana seemed to be the perfect banana. But why does he sit in the rain? Why not eat the banana when it is warm and sunny? Why not eat the banana in the comfort of his own home? Does he have a home? The man seems to enjoy the banana like it is the light of his life as if it brings pure joy to him. I have never seen someone enjoy a banana so much. Have you? He enjoys his banana as if it is his one piece of happiness. That banana is all he has.

For the original story click here.

My Owner Maya!

My names Lucy. I am the family dog, a toy poodle. Maya spends all of her time playing volleyball, and she seems very sporty. Volleyball has relatively consumed her life, and she travels a lot for it. I know because I spend a good amount of time in the doggy hotel at PetSmart, but that isn’t a bad thing because it is super fun! It’s great to know that she has something that she loves, but she spends all of her time playing volleyball instead of playing with me. I mean I should be the most important thing. It is great though because my family always supports Maya. The family gives a lot of support, but so does her best friend Lindsay. I really like Lindsay she’s great when she comes over I get a lot of attention. Even though I don’t get to spend a ton of time with her I still love her a bunch. She is super friendly if she was a dog we would be best buds. 

P.S. If you are a dog and want to have just as much fun as I do tell your owner to book you a weekend at PetSmart hotel.