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In the Penal Colony Essay | Critical Essay #2

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Critical Essay #2

In the following excerpt, Greenberg offers his interpretation of Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," claiming that the story, although powerful, is not successful due to its lack of subjectivity and inability to reach the truth.

Kafka failed in Amerika for lack of a suitable narrative mode, the subjective mode of the dream story. In the short novel "In the Penal Colony," which he wrote in the fall of 1914, about the same time he began The Trial, again he seems to me to fail to master his material. Now, however, the failure is not due to artistic immaturity—now it is the failure of the mature artist to stick with sure instinct to the formal requirements of his own vision. Failure however is too strong a word here. One cannot call such a powerful story a failure. But neither is it a success.

Ideas obtrude in the story with...

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This section contains 2,613 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our In the Penal Colony Study Guide
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In the Penal Colony from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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