Instructions for Blog Post #5 – Kafka

This week we’re reading two short stories from Franz Kafka, “In the Penal Colony” and “A Hunger Artist.”  For your blog post #5, I would like you to respond to one of the following four prompts.

  1. Besides simply being an old, worn-out apparatus, what is the reason, do you think, for the machine or apparatus breaking apart in “In the Penal Colony”?
  2. How do you read the officer from the story “In the Penal Colony”?  Is he the bad guy, the good guy, or neither?  Is he a zealot, a victim of circumstance, or a pitiable character?
  3. According to each story, the hunger artist as well as the executions performed by the apparatus on the penal colony had huge crowds.  People would come to watch the execution or the hunger artist all day.  Now, no one watches the executions nor the hunger artist because the hunger artist’s art and the execution are, simply, no longer valued.  Why do you think there has been such a change?
  4. How would you read these stories if the genders were different?  What if the explorer or the condemned were a woman in “In the Penal Colony”?  Or if the artist in “A Hunger Artist” were a woman?

As usual make sure to do the following:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from the Kafka texts.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question you choose. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Kafka’s short stories to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Tuesday, February 15th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, February 17th.


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