Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In the Penal Colony
The story is about the last execution by an elaborate torture machine designed to engrave moralizing slogans into the flesh of the condemned to educate him in his prolonged agony. The inventor is so dismayed about the lack of public recognition for this educational device that in the end he thrusts himself into the machine and is impaled on the engraving shaft. As in other of Kafka's writings, the narrator is detached from, or perhaps numbed by, events that one would normally expect to be registered with horror.
The story has been made into an opera by Philip Glass.
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