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The author displays the rise of chivalry of a person and then finally their demise as they cannot improve their lives and so seek their fortunes elsewhere. The book was received well by both critics and fans alike. This is the classic novel of humiliation" and the London Review of Books has commented that "Hunger was published in and its power has not faded.

The Hunger study guide contains a biography of Knut Hamsun, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Hunger literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Hunger by Knut Hamsun. The honest pawnbroker bowed twice profoundly to me as I withdrew. I turned again and repeated my good-bye. On the stairs I met a woman with a travelling-bag in her hand, who squeezed diffidently against the wall to make room for me, and I voluntarily thrust my hand in my pocket for something to give her, and looked foolish as I found nothing and passed on with my head down.

I heard her knock at the office door; there was an alarm over it, and I recognized the jingling sound it gave when any one rapped on the door with his knuckles. The sun stood in the south; it was about twelve. The whole town began to get on its legs as it approached the fashionable hour for promenading. Bowing and laughing folk walked up and down Carl Johann Street. I stuck my elbows closely to my sides, tried to make myself look small, and slipped unperceived past some acquaintances who had taken up their stand at the corner of University Street to gaze at the passers-by.

I wandered up Castle Hill and fell into a reverie.

How gaily and lightly these people I met carried their radiant heads, and swung themselves through life as through a ball-room! There was no sorrow in a single look I met, no burden on any shoulder, perhaps not even a clouded thought, not a little hidden pain in any of the happy souls. And I, walking in the very midst of these people, young and newly-fledged as I was, had already forgotten the very look of happiness. I hugged these thoughts to myself as I went on, and found that a great injustice had been done me.

Why had the last months pressed so strangely hard on me?

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Hunger Background

I failed to recognize my own happy temperament, and I met with the most singular annoyances from all quarters. I could not sit down on a bench by myself or set my foot any place without being assailed by insignificant accidents, miserable details, that forced their way into my imagination and scattered my powers to all the four winds. A dog that dashed by me, a yellow rose in a man's buttonhole, had the power to set my thoughts vibrating and occupy me for a length of time.

Was the hand of the Lord turned against me? But why just against me?

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Why, for that matter, not just as well against a man in South America? When I considered the matter over, it grew more and more incomprehensible to me that I of all others should be selected as an experiment for a Creator's whims.


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It was, to say the least of it, a peculiar mode of procedure to pass over a whole world of other humans in order to reach me. Why not select just as well Bookseller Pascha, or Hennechen the steam agent? As I went my way I sifted this thing, and could not get quit of it. I found the most weighty arguments against the Creator's arbitrariness in letting me pay for all the others' sins.

Even after I had found a seat and sat down, the query persisted in occupying me, and prevented me from thinking of aught else. From the day in May when my ill-luck began I could so clearly notice my gradually increasing debility; I had become, as it were, too languid to control or lead myself whither I would go. A swarm of tiny noxious animals had bored a way into my inner man and hollowed me out. Supposing God Almighty simply intended to annihilate me?

Hunger by Knut Hamsun Lesson Plans

I got up and paced backwards and forwards before the seat. My whole being was at this moment in the highest degree of torture, I had pains in my arms, and could hardly bear to hold them in the usual way. I experienced also great discomfort from my last full meal; I was oversated, and walked backwards and forwards without looking up. The people who came and went around me glided past me like faint gleams.

Editor's Note: Hunger is a powerful metaphorC-VILLE Weekly

At last my seat was taken up by two men, who lit cigars and began to talk loudly together. I got angry and was on the point of addressing them, but turned on my heel and went right to the other end of the Park, and found another seat. I sat down. It seemed to me in the highest degree indefensible of Him to interfere every time I sought for a place, and to upset the whole thing, while all the time I was but imploring enough for a daily meal.

I had remarked so plainly that, whenever I had been hungry for any length of time, it was just as if my brains ran quite gently out of my head and left me with a vacuum--my head grew light and far off, I no longer felt its weight on my shoulders, and I had a consciousness that my eyes stared far too widely open when I looked at anything. I sat there on the seat and pondered over all this, and grew more and more bitter against God for His prolonged inflictions.

If He meant to draw me nearer to Him, and make me better by exhausting me and placing obstacle after obstacle in my way, I could assure Him He made a slight mistake. And, almost crying with defiance, I looked up towards Heaven and told Him so mentally, once and for all. Fragments of the teachings of my childhood ran through my memory.

In From the Cold

The rhythmical sound of Biblical language sang in my ears, and I talked quite softly to myself, and held my head sneeringly askew. Wherefore should I sorrow for what I eat, for what I drink, or for what I may array this miserable food for worms called my earthy body? Hath not my Heavenly Father provided for me, even as for the sparrow on the housetop, and hath He not in His graciousness pointed towards His lowly servitor? The Lord stuck His finger in the net of my nerves gently--yea, verily, in desultory fashion--and brought slight disorder among the threads.

And then the Lord withdrew His finger, and there were fibres and delicate root-like filaments adhering to the finger, and they were the nerve-threads of the filaments. And there was a gaping hole after the finger, which was God's finger, and a wound in my brain in the track of His finger. But when God had touched me with His finger, He let me be, and touched me no more, and let no evil befall me; but let me depart in peace, and let me depart with the gaping hole.

And no evil hath befallen me from the God who is the Lord God of all Eternity. The sound of music was borne up on the wind to me from the Students' Allee. It was therefore past two o'clock. I took out my writing materials to try to write something, and at the same time my book of shaving-tickets [Footnote: Issued by the barbers at cheaper rates, as few men in Norway shave themselves. I opened it, and counted the tickets; there were six. I smoothed the leaves out carefully, and put the book safely into my pocket.


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But write I could not. After a few lines nothing seemed to occur to me; my thought ran in other directions, and I could not pull myself together enough for any special exertion. Everything influenced and distracted me; everything I saw made a fresh impression on me. Flies and tiny mosquitoes stick fast to the paper and disturb me.

Knut Hamsun - Advanced Norwegian Lesson

I blow at them to get rid of them--blow harder and harder; to no purpose, the little pests throw themselves on their backs, make themselves heavy, and fight against me until their slender legs bend. They are not to be moved from the spot; they find something to hook on to, set their heels against a comma or an unevenness in the paper, or stand immovably still until they themselves think fit to go their way. These insects continued to busy me for a long time, and I crossed my legs to observe them at leisure. All at once a couple of high clarionet notes waved up to me from the bandstand, and gave my thoughts a new impulse.

Despondent at not being able to put my article together, I replaced the paper in my pocket, and leant back in the seat.

At this instant my head is so clear that I can follow the most delicate train of thought without tiring. As I lie in this position, and let my eyes glide down my breast and along my legs, I notice the jerking movement my foot makes each time my pulse beats. I half rise and look down at my feet, and I experience at this moment a fantastic and singular feeling that I have never felt before--a delicate, wonderful shock through my nerves, as if sparks of cold light quivered through them--it was as if catching sight of my shoes I had met with a kind old acquaintance, or got back a part of myself that had been riven loose.