In his journal entry for December 2, 1914, Kafka expresses his disappointment with "In der Strafkolonie," designating it to be full of errors. It can readily be assumed that he considered the ending itself to be seriously flawed since he later wrote what appears to be alternative versions, together with further changes; these are all fragmentary in nature. Since this effort on Kafka's part can but be considered an effort to clarify what he held to be the story's import, I intend to discuss "In der Strafkolonie" in the light of the addenda and the story's incompleteness. This failing comes about, I would maintain, because at the time when he wrote the narrative (probably late in 1914), Kafka himself remained indecisive about the direction his literary career should take. He was frustrated in his endeavor to combine devotion to his writing with the achievement of goals preset for a bourgeois young man with a university degree—marriage, the founding of a family, an estimable position in business or the bureaucracy. "In der Strafkolonie " reflects his predicament.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.