In the Penal Colony Discussion Questions

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In literature, irony refers to an instance of something happening that is the opposite of what is expected. How is the official's death an example of irony?

From information in the story, produce a diagram of the execution machine.

Gershom Scholem, historian of Jewish mysticism, has identified Kafka as a neo-kabbalist. Find out what you can about kabbalah and identify two ways in which it could relate to Kafka's story.

Imagine that in his old age the explorer writes his memoirs and looks back at his own behavior at the penal colony. Which, if any, of his actions does he affirm or regret?

Why do you think Kafka was dissatisfied with the ending to the story? How might it be improved?

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This section contains 121 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Penal Colony Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
In the Penal Colony from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.