Like so many of Kafka's stories, "A Hunger Artist" manages to squeeze big philosophical questions concerning human nature and the meaning of existence into a relatively compact (and super weird) story. The artist's slow act of starvation brings up the question of what distinguishes human beings from animals. At certain points, the artist seems to be glorified as one who has transcended human bodily needs into a higher, spiritual or ideal existence. The problem is, it's unclear whether he starves himself because he freely chooses to do so, or because he has a sensitive tummy and is grossed out by most foods. The line that separates the hunger artist from merely instinctual, brute, animal existence is blurred.
Kafka's "A Hunger Artist" depicts an artist whose spirituality puts him at odds with his more materialistic public.
Kafka's "A Hunger Artist" challenges the notion that art is a more ideal version of life by associating art with the animal.