Introduction to Literary Form
Araby by James Joyce, A Loaf of Bread by James Alan McPherson, and A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka are some of the short stories in Seagull Reader Stories. Araby is a narration by a boy who lives with his aunt. During winter, the narrator plays with other children in the backyards of the neighborhood. Mangan is one of the boys he used to play with. One day while they were playing, Mangan’s sister calls his little brother for his tea. The sight of Mangan’s older sister makes the narrator start to pursue her shyly. Then one day, while the boys were playing, Mangan’s older sister asks him whether he was going to a bazaar called Araby. Mangan’s older sister is unable to go due to commitments in her school. This prompts the narrator to offer to go to the bazaar and bring her a gift. On the Saturday when the boy intends to visit the bazaar, he waits for a long time for his uncle to come and give him the necessary pocket money. Finally, his uncle arrives at around nine o’clock and offers him the money. He arrives at the bazaar at 9:50 p.m. just when it is about to close. He enters one of the few stalls that was still open and tries to find a gift for Mangan’s sister. The store was selling pottery items. However, the young lady in charge of the stall shows little interest in him. This puts off the narrator. He decides not to purchase anything from the stall. In the end, the narrator does not purchase anything from the bazaar. This shutters his hopes of impressing Mangan’s sister (Joyce and Mann 25).
On the other hand, ‘A Loaf of Bread’ is a story on the challenges that Harold Green faces in one of the three grocery stores he owns. The main customers of the grocery store are African Americans. Problems arise when the customers realize that the groceries they purchase in the grocery store have a higher price than groceries serving other communities. This prompts them to start protesting all over the town. Harold strives to maintain his pride throughout the story. At the beginning of the story, Harold refuses to buckle despite incessant pleas from his wife. The protestors started picketing in the grounds where Harold’s children attended school. This made the children come home from crying due to the mental anguish. This development angered Ruth, Harold’s wife. She gave Harold an ultimatum that during the week he should set aside 8 hours during which he would offer to give his customers anything they want freely failure to which he would never see his wife and children again. However, Harold did not give in to the threats. Harold’s customers also gave him an ultimatum. They claimed that they would pickets at the grounds of his children’s school until he reduced the prices. Harold countered there threats by claiming that he was simply playing by the rules. Therefore, if he closed down the grocery, someone else with similar practices would replace him. However, Harold ultimately decides to offer groceries freely on one Saturday. In so doing, he retains the relationship with both his customers and family (Kirszner and Mandell 327).
A Hunger Artist is a story narrated by a hunger artist. Hunger artist used to be very popular a few decades ago. As such, the hunger artist conducted tours across various cities in Europe. Huge crowds visited his cage day and night. During the act, the hunger artist would starve himself for forty days. Then at the end of the forty days, the hunger artist would leave his cage and eat his first meal while being cheered by spectators. However, hunger artistry ceased being popular suddenly. The hunger artist and his manager travel all over Europe in searching of an audience interested in hunger artistry only to find there is none. This prompts the hunger artist to free his manager upon which he signs on as an act in a circus.
However, the hunger artist is simply a side show at the circus. His cage is placed on the next to the menagerie of exotic animals. People who pass by the cage can barely notice him. Despite the fact that he is overlooked, the hunger artist does not stop starving. The circus supervisor notices the cage one day and pokes a straw into the cage to determine who is inside. He discovers that the hunger artist is still there barely alive. Before dying, the hunger artist whispers his last words to the supervisor. He claims that he starves because he cannot find the food of his liking. The hunger artist dies and is buried with his straw. A panther is placed in the cage that belonged to the hunger artist. It pleases all circus-goers (Gray 132).
I intend to pursue a career in nursing when I graduate. Nursing would enable me help improve the well-being of members of my community. Nurses face various setbacks from to time while undertaking their duties. Despite all their efforts, patients’ condition may worsen. The patients may even die while under the care of nurses. Therefore, it is vital for nurses to learn how to cope with the setbacks as they are part of nursing practice. Araby by James Joyce captures these challenge more effectively. The narrator in infatuated by Mangan’s sister. Therefore, he would do anything just to befriend her. He finally gets the opportunity to speak to her when she asks her whether he would go to the bazaar upon which the narrator responds in the positive despite the fact that he had not planned to go the bazaar.
The narrator intends to bring Mangan’s sister a gift from the bazaar if only to gain her friendship. However, when he finally goes to the bazaar he is unable to purchase anything, which makes him be filled with anguish and anger. This theme is also highlighted in ‘A hunger Artist.’ In the story, the hunger artist used to be very popular. He travelled in various cities across Europe where huge crowds came to watch him. However, his popularity diminished suddenly. After travelling across Europe with his manager, the hunger artist could not find audiences that were willing to watch him. This provided the hunger artist with a setback. He joined a circus to market his trade. However, he was unable to become as popular as in the past (Kafka 62). This highlights some of the setbacks that exist in the nursing profession. Changes in the healthcare industry may necessitate nurses to pursue different career paths.
Lack of appreciation is one of the major challenges that nurses face while undertaking their duties. Various parties treat social work as if it not a worthy profession. A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka highlights the lack of appreciation by members of the society. In the story, the hunger artist is not appreciated enough. His cage is placed near the menagerie of exotic animals. People ignore him as they pass by his cage to view the exotic animals. As nurse, members of the society may ignore my efforts. People value doctors more than they value nurses. They claim that doctors are in the real profession whereas nurses are simply doctors’ assistants. James Alan McPherson also highlights lack of appreciation in ‘A Loaf of Bread. Harold’s wife does not appreciate the fact that all he does is for the benefit of the welfare of his family. This is despite the fact that he is using means that exploit other people. Harold claims that the only color he cares for is ‘Green’ referring to money and his family (Fallon, Feddersen and Kurtzleben 273).
The stories are not from the same period. ‘A Loaf of Bread’ was published in 1978. ‘Araby’ was published in 1914 whereas ‘A Hunger Artist’ was published in 1922. During the early 20th century, nursing was not considered as a profession. Nurses simply helped in making people who had various health conditions more comfortable. Doctors undertook a significant proportion of activities that helped in improving the well-being of the patient. In addition, they delegated their duties to the nurses. Nurses rarely worked without the supervision of qualified doctors. This made nurses feel as if they were the physician’s assistant. In addition, various issues in nursing had not been developed during this period. For example the nursing theory, which helps in defining the activities of nurses, had not been developed. Nurses engaged in their activities without having good theoretical foundations to guide them. In the early 20th century, nursing was a predominantly female career. It was unfathomable that a man would like t to become a nurse.
This is due to the fact that nursing was associated with feminine duties of care. Men who were in the healthcare industry were physicians. However, by the late 1970s, nursing had undergone significant changes. Nursing theory had been developed. Nursing theory created a body of knowledge that helped in explaining the activities of nurses. This slowly initiated the process of acceptance of nursing as a profession. Development of nursing theory and other nursing concepts led to an increase in the role of nurses in patient care. This improved their self-perception in the healthcare industry. In addition, in the 1970s changes in nursing made it to be no longer seen as a feminine profession. Therefore, men started pursuing careers in nursing without fear being rebuked by other members of the society (Koutoukidis, Stainton and Hughson 89).
The authors’ background determined their perceptions. Franz Kafka authored ‘A Hunger Artist’ during a period when he had tuberculosis. The tuberculosis affected the throat, which made it painful for him o swallow food. He later died of starvation since parenteral nutrition, which helps in feeding an individual intravenously, had not been developed. In ‘A Hunger Artist,’ Kafka claims that the narrator starved since it was very easy. He could not understand how people could make a fuss out of something that could be done very easily. However, in reality, Kafka was referring to himself. Tuberculosis had rendered him unable to eat. Therefore, it fasting was less painful than eating. The author shows that people can easily cope or challenges if they embrace them. Pain and challenges should provide people with an opportunity to learn and grow. A hunger artist is also published a few years after the First World War. During this period people had witnessed great pain due to the loss of their loved ones in battle. This is one of the reasons as to why pain is evident throughout the story. On the other hand, A Hunger Artist’ was published in the late 1970s. During the 1960s and 1970s there was a significant increase in people’s demand for civil liberties. This led to various protests. This may be the reason as to why James Alan McPherson includes protests against Green in his essay. In addition, minority groups conducted protests. African Americans are the people who are conducting the protests in the story.
In all the stories, the narrators do not fulfill their wishes. In ‘Araby,’ the narrator goes to the bazaar to purchase a gift for Mangan’s sister. However, arrives late and is treated unfairly in one of the malls open. This made him fail to purchase the gift. In ‘A Loaf of Bread,’ Green would like to maintain the prices of groceries in his grocery stores despite protests from members of the community. In addition, he does not intend to offer free groceries to his customers as demanded by his wife. However, he ultimately offers free groceries to his customers on one Saturday. In ‘A Hunger Artist,’ the hunger artist would like to remain popular while practicing his trade. However, he loses his popularity and ultimately dies of hunger. The major difference between the stories is in their setting. ‘A Loaf of Bread’ is set in a period where people were willing to engage in protests. However, the setting of ‘Araby’ and ‘A Hunger Artists,’ show that people during the period had dictatorial tendencies.
The stories had helped in showing the importance of perseverance. It is a fact that one should experience pain while going up the career ladder. An individual may be at the subject rebuke or prejudice from other parties. However, one should learn to embrace the challenges and treat them as opportunities for learning and growth.
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