Metamorphosis & In the Penal Colony

Metamorphosis & In the Penal Colony


The ‘in the penal colony’ story by Kafka is very problematic due to the wrangling interpretations it has received. Many questions such as the worry to whether his machine dispenses grace or torment, or whether Kafka is giving people parable of the old vs. new law, among other questions made the story challenging. There appears a kind of rationality, and when one is purposed on the fundamental motif of the tale, he or she finds the story inexplicit.  The story explains about an officer who is desperate to make the reader understand the nature of justice. As well, the story utilizes language as a fundamental tool of understanding, where Kafka performs two opposed languages, which are verbal and physical.  The efforts of bridging the gap amid people and matter and spirit, tend to be fruitless as the spoken language entails. The paper reviews the Kafka’s metamorphoses ‘in the panel colony’ providing a summary of how two themes, the frustrations and meaning, and justice are expounded in the story.

The Theme of Justice

The story raises the question of how justice should be practiced in an active society. The justice systems in the penal of the colonies refuse those with crime allegations an opportunity to prove them innocent and seem to be subject to death penalties even when the accusations seem minor.  From Kafka’s narrative, especially the case of the officer being brutally slain by his apparatus, it can be gleaned that he does not believe that is a friendly approach for justice to prevail.  Kafka favors the justice system where one must know the law and understand the consequences set upon the violations. Such is evident when Kafka’s fixations on the fated men’s failure to follow the crime and the future punishments (Kafka et al.  pg. 1). Kafka supports the agenda of the accused being given an opportunity to defend the allegations against them. Furthermore, researchers have claimed that the apparatus is depicted in a manner in which arguments against adoption of capital punishment.

In the metamorphosis story, justice is experienced in the three parts of the tale. Each story is marked by the emergence of the Gregor in Samsa’s dining hall and then retreating. Gregor puts his brother and sister in the working place.  Injustice is experienced when Gregor passes away. The lodgers are expelled from the work and Samsa is seen pleading with the employers to do a favor to the lodgers (Corngold et al. pg. 1). The meaning of Gregor’s metamorphosis is understood through the imaginative that the employees are seen going through. Though the employers pretend to be helpful to the employees, an element of excessive use of authority is seen in the story. Gregor and his servants were valued as the evils servants and were given a punitive response. Indeed, the receptionist assessed the biblical readings that “shall come in a day when he looked not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 24:50-51)

Frustration and Meaning

In the penal colony story, each character’s desires are aggravated by the others, something that hinders them from finding the meaning of their hopes. The condemned man lodges for freedom but the soldiers and the other guards advocate for his death and have a doctrinal experience. Samsa, the traveler, is perplexed with by the real defense of the machine and the apparatus from the officers and he knows he should report to the commandment in a manner that upholds veracity. The officers are seen with the desire to keep torturing the condemned prisoner with the favor from the traveler. However, upon apprehending the desperation of the operation, he turns the machine towards himself. As a result, the device breaks down and slays him with no permission for the religious experience or death. He appears initially fidgety and moved by the roaring heat, though later was interested in the explanations of the officer.

Meanwhile, the theme is movingly echoing of the struggles that Kafka experience in the effort to assign meaning to its life. Ironically, the self-defeating and emphasis of the message leads to the deep fatal frustrations. Centrally, if the definition is realized, it is mostly by pervasive mechanisms, which is often directed while opposing someone’s joy. The meaning of life remains untold story, and most of the characters in the two stories do not understand the secret. Similarly, Franz Kafka does not provide a precise report of such a theme and put all the characters in confusion.

As in the metamorphosis tale, Gregor undergoes a surprisingly realistic transformation. He experienced a dream that transforms him into a bug which seems fantastical. Indeed, the dreams channel a message of terror and to each character suffering it and a change in the mannerism of dialogue.  Based on the Moynihan and his team, Gregor appears misunderstood by the parents and seem unable to convey any message that went astray. Indeed, he shouts back to the people to conceptualize the situations through the parents seemed not to understand increasing the frustrations and meaning.


The plot of the two stories by Franz Kafka encompasses a critical evaluation and summary of various significant themes. Especially, justice and frustrations are the two themes that seem to possess great weight in the two stories which explain how rights are violated and how things remain unclear. The author’s ideas and thoughts look locked indoor and assumptions to understand the meaning of the themes put across.


Work cited

Kafka, Franz, Breon Mitchell, and Dallas Henke. In the penal colony. ProQuest LLC, 2002.

Corngold, Stanley. Franz Kafka: The Necessity of Form. Cornell University Press, 2018.