Writing Assignment
Franz Kafka's "A Hunger Artist"
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There is a Study Guide to this story.  You should work your way through it before even reading through this Writing Assignment.

You may also wish to review the general instructions on writing assignments.

Work up a searching and well-organized essay

in which you lay out in systematic tetail

the relevant points of implicit contrast

(these must be grounded in the explicit details of the story)

that constitute one of the the following three basic foils in the story:

(a) that between the public persona of the hunger artist and what at the end he reveals to have been the secret reality about himself;

(b) that between the public persona of the hunger artist on the one hand and the panther on the other;

(c) that between the panther and the private reality of the hunger artist.

Caution: the scope of your essay

You need not proceed to discuss the further significance of these relationsips. The goal of your paper is rather to put us on as firm a footing as possible to move into those areas in our classs discussion. Concentrate on doing as thorough as possible a job on this task.  (You may then, if you wish, hazard some speculations about what the differences you spell out might further signify.)

Of course it is important that you keep in mind that what you are doing as the main business in this paper is carrying out a part of the overall inquiry called for by the story. This is a critical part, but it is still only a part. It is, in fact, locted "in the middle" of the overall process of interrogation.

Before it comes the generation of the question itself, and it is essential that you keep in mind, too, the process we went through (in the Study Guide) in the course of noticing how the story itself together with certain called-for assumptions on our part tells us that this particular inquiry (the topic of your paper) is one that we need to carry out.

After it comes a host of questions that, in turn, treat the answers to the three questions from among which you are choosing here either as the platform for raising further questions or as matierials for answering further questions generated by it and/or other bases in the story.

It is not the required task of your essay in this assignment to address those questions.  But it is impossible to see the point of the issues you will be struggling with in your paper unless you have those questions in mind.  This means that, continually during the process of writing your paper, you should take time out to review the process of thinking pointed to in the Study Guide.

Give yourself enough time!

A "searching and well-organized essay" on whichever foil you choose will require plenting of tinkering -- and more than one draft!  It will also probably take at least a full single-spaced page of typed text.

  Consult the Study Guide to this story before attempting this writing assignment!

  You may also wish to review the general instructions on writing assignments.

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright 1998 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

  This page last updated 28 March 1999.