Teacher Guide

In the Penal Colony Lesson Plan

Introduction to In the Penal Colony

Franz Kafka wrote "In der Strafkolonie," a German short story typically translated into English as "In the Penal Colony," in October of 1914, and published it for the first time in May of 1919. Kafka was keen on exploring matters of the law and justice in 1914: not only did he write this story in that year, but he also began work on The Trial and wrote the parable "Before the Law." Gustav Janouch, a friend of Kafka, reports that he had this exchange with Kafka when Kafka received a copy of the published story in the mail:

Said Janouch: "'You should be very satisfied, Herr Doktor.’ ‘That I really am not,’ said Franz Kafka, and pushed the book carelessly into a drawer, which he closed. ‘...

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