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Franz Kafka

In the Penal Colony

The story is set in an unnamed penal colony. Internal clues and the setting on an island suggest Octave Mirbeau's The Torture Garden as an influence. As in some of Kafka's other writings, the narrator in this story seems detached from, or perhaps numbed by, events that one would normally expect to be registered with horror. In the Penal Colony describes the last use of an elaborate torture and execution device that carves the sentence of the condemned prisoner on his skin in a script before letting him die, all in the course of twelve hours. As the plot unfolds, the reader learns more and more about the machine, including its origin, and original justification.
41 printed pages
Have you already read it? How did you like it?


  • Lolashared an impression2 months ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths

  • roro zuckershared an impressionlast year
    👍Worth reading


  • Фелиция Белковаhas quoted2 years ago
    in the small, deep, sandy valley, closed in on all sides by barren slopes, apart from the Officer and the Traveler there were present only the Condemned, a vacant-looking man with a broad mouth and dilapidated hair and face, and the Soldier, who held the heavy chain to which were connected the small chains which bound the Condemned Man by his feet and wrist bones, as well as by his neck, and which were also linked to each other by connecting chains
  • Alejandro Herrerahas quoted4 years ago
    writhed around, making his chain clink. “Stand him up,” cried the Officer. Then he

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