Both authors J. M Coetzee and Franz Kafka accentuate the idea of alienation and absurd through their writings “Life and times of Michel K ” and “a hunger artist”. The authors use a special technique, which does not require any feeling, making the stories impersonal and monotonous. Through this technique the authors manage to give us the impression that our characters always find a masochistic way to assuage their loneliness.In Life and Times of Michael K our main character Michel K creates this impression by always staying in the dark (in the night) and by wanting to be like a worm and become part of the Earth “I am more like an earth worm, he thought. Which is also a kind or gardener. Or a mole, also a gardener, that does not tell stories because it lives in silence.
“(pg 182). This emphasizes the tone in our story, which is monotonous and melancholic. The book is written is such a way that makes the main characters indifferent and absurd. The style of writing is similar to the Kafkaesque style of writing, surreal and impersonal.On the other hand The Hunger Artist is also an example of a Kafkaesque style of writing. The hunger artist exposes his sufferance to the world, making a fool of himself and being watched at as a show. The hunger artist has a similar way of thinking as Michel K, he is considered stubborn, a freak of nature by the decisions he makes as to live his life as a loner, and by being different.
The Hunger artist and Michael k both are considered specimens, study cases for people to observe, which gives them a certain level of popularity. The tone in The Hunger Artist is dull, making the reader to develop a sentiment of pity for the character.The common themes of Life and Times of Michael K and A Hunger Artist are captivity and alienation. At fist, Michel K is being alienated from birth, even when he was a little child he preferred to be alone and separate from the others. Also no one took care of him like a normal child should be taken care of.
“I have become an object of charity, he thought. Everywhere I go, there are people waiting to exercise their forms of charity on me. “(pag. 181)However The Hunger Artist is being alienated because of his decision of following his heart and creates art by starving and locking himself into a cage as to an animal; “.
..couldn’t find a food which tasted good to me. If I had found that, believe me, I would not have made a spectacle of myself and would have eaten to my heart’s content, like you and everyone else”(8th par). The idea of captivity illustrated in both stories underlines that the characters are prisoners in their own world and are captivated within their own masochistic way to assuage loneliness, Michael K living y his own initiative and the artist being am attraction to people because of his willingness of starvation.
Thus the stories share the idea of absurdism as the characters chose misery over normality.