I will try to demonstrate what the publics reaction was to the angel in The
very old man with Enormous wings and Kafkas Hunger Artist from what the
authors wrote in the stories and the characters point of view. I will also try
illustrate how the public has more of a meaning in both stories.
In A very old man with Enormous Wings the public goes to see the old
man because they wanted to see what he was. The owners of the house where the
old man was at, thought that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship
wrecked by the storm. They thought this because they spoke to him and he
answered in a incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailors voice.
The public tossed him things to eat as if he werent a supernatural creature
but a circus animal. When Father Gonzaga went to see the old man there was less
frivolous onlookers than those who had arrived earlier. The simplest among them
thought that he should be named mayor of the world. Others of sterner mind felt
that he should be promoted to the rank of five-star general in order to win all wars.
There were other people that hoped he would be put to reproduce, so there would
be a race of winged wise man who could take charge of the universe. Father
Gonzaga suspected that he was an impostor because he did not understand the
language of God and did not know how to greet his minister. He did not think that
the old man was an angel, he instead felt that it could of been a trick of the devil.
Curious people came from far away because they thought that he could cure
them and change their misfortunes. During all this time, the old man was the only
one who did not take part in his own act. During those days a carnival attraction
arrived with a woman who had been changed to a spider. The old mans reputation
was already ruined by this time. After this people stopped going to see the old man.
Months had past when the old man got new wings and just flew away.
I think that the angel in The very old man with Enormous wings might
have actually stayed. He left because no one treated him right. They did not believe
in him just because he did not give them what they wanted, so they did not have
faith in him. The public could of just believe in him and treated him well maybe he
would have gotten well and then he would have gaven them what they wanted.
In the hunger Artist , the artist wanted the public to appreciate his fasting
abilities by watching him and giving him fame. We know this by the following
passage; Why stop fasting… ?, … why should he be cheated of the fame he would
get for lasting longer.
Professional fasting had diminished remarkably the last decade. For elders
he was often a joke, while for children he was a special treat. There were different
kinds of watchers that watched the artist. There were groups of watchers who
would huddle to together in a corner to play cards. They intended to give the artist
Some space, because they thought he would appreciate to be alone. He did not,
instead it made him miserable and made his fast seem unendurable. Then there are
the watchers more to his taste. The watchers that would sit close up to the bars
because they were not content with the dim night lighting on the hall. The artist
would not sleep, he was happy at spending sleepless nights with such watchers.
People began to get uninterested in watching the Hunger Artist because
no one could produce evidence that the fast had really been continuos; only the
artist knew that, therefore he was his only satisfied spectator of his own fast. Years
past and still no one took his trouble seriously. People felt that his depression was
do to the fasting. They also felt that fasting made him react with an outburst of
fury; he would shake the bars of his cage like a wild animal. More years past,
suddenly the hunger artist found himself deserted by the amusement seekers and
by this he died.
In the Hunger Artist the public could not have just been content in
knowing that he was fasting. They saw how skinny he was and they still thought
that he could have had been eating on the side. This shows the lack of trust people
have in other people.
The two stories should be compared because of their similarities in the way
the public treats the main characters. The public was just interested in the Hunger
Artist because he was an entertainment for them. They watched him for a couple
of years, but it then got to a point when people started saying, that they would not
watch him anymore because they were not with him all day, so how could they be
sure that he was not eating anything on the side. The public in The very old
man with Enormous wings were interested in the old man because they thought
he was an angel. They stopped being interested in him when they saw that he could
not do miracles for them. With this we can see that the public in both stories were
only enticed by the two characters as long as they thought that they were getting
something from them. The public tried to use the characters for their own benefits.
I think that the two writers are focusing on how the public reacts to the characters
in The very old man with Enormous wings and the Hunger Artist because
they are trying to show how the world has changed when it comes to having faith
in other people or in a religious matter.