Today’s topic is Hunger by Knut Hamsun.
Hunger is a kafkan novel about the misery of ultimate human condition, in contrast with a civilized and high order culture. The novel has a main character who lives with the least amount he can get, surviving each day with the hope of a better tomorrow.
Main theme exploited by the author is the basic human need, nourishment, which lacks severely for the character. He is caught in a trap of society, where he cannot provide himself with the least necessary, but has an ego that stops him from asking for help from authorities or other people. The character prefers to suffer, without indulging penalties on the society or other people, struggling to survive. He begins to write something for a publishing house, but his condition itself is stopping him from achieving his goal. Living only with change and sometimes selling some of his minimal properties, like his jacket, keeps him alive every day. During the novel, he manages to get some money, only to spend them on a poor rent or by helping other homeless people, but not getting anything in return.
The main character is an intellectual, faced with the misery of needing to procure his meal and day by day needs without having any money or means of sustain. He could get out of this problem if he could sell his work, but the problem is it takes so much time until his work is sold, such that he cannot live by then. The intellectual is forced to live with the means of a low class pover, which is the contrast of the book. The author depicts the condition of hunger, lack of minimal life conditions with a character that struggles in waving sands, by his moves only getting himself deeper into the mess. Being unable to scream for help, he keeps all his suffering for himself, only praying that a higher power will save him. His fall is strong, and he somehow realizes that the world is unable to keep him.
Hamsun depicts his story in strong observations, giving me the feeling of hopelessness, of futile life and attempts to revive. The story is sad, however, it makes us appreciate more the simple things in life, and gives a role-model of poverty and generosity.