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2 pages/≈550 words
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Literature & Language
Book Report
English (U.S.)
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In The Penal Colony: Franz Kafka (Book Report Sample)


Identify the main ideas of the piece. Support every idea with at least 3 quotes in the story with page reference.
In bullet point form.
Briefly analyze the relationships between characters.


Student’s Name

In The Penal Colony

Several ideas have been brought up in the piece by Franz Kafka. One idea is the use of the omniscient third point of view, which the writer uses to eliminate bias. The author’s use of the third point of view reveals his objective state, which omits the possibility of biases and offers the reader an opportunity to judge the story from their understanding. This point of view is evidenced in the entire story by how the author describes the characters’ feelings and thoughts. For instance, at the beginning of the story, the author explains that the traveler did not want to attend the execution but did so “only out of politeness” (Kafka 1). The author also explains that “the bed and the inscriber were the same size and looked like two dark chests,” meaning that he knew how the apparatus looked like and operated (Kafka 3). Moreover, after explaining about the apparatus to the traveler and the condemned man, the author describes that the officer’s thoughts by stating that he felt as if he was “in danger of having his explanation held up” (Kafka 5). The writer describes these thoughts and feelings to offer the reader with adequate and necessary information useful to accurately understand the story.

Kafka also portrays the idea of religion in the story. The author uses the characters to portray the differences in religious cultures and beliefs. The description of the Old Commandant is similar to that of an authoritarian god. The gravestone where the commandant was laid to rest read, “There exists a prophecy that the Commandant will rise again after a certain number of years and from this house, he will lead his followers to a re-conquest of the colony. Have faith and wait” (Kafka 19). The commandant controlled the penal colony before his death and is rumored to come back to rule the colony. This description is similar to the biblical story of death and resurrection. The officer is also devoted to the ways of the old Commandant, and the officer’s desc

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