In the Penal Colony
by Franz Kafka
Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
G…or is it R?
On the surface, the story has nothing to do with sex, though it's got enough in the gruesome violence department to get it at least an "R" rating for other reasons. On the other hand, many people think much more in Kafka is about sex than meets the eye. At times the officer's dedication to the apparatus and what it does to the naked human body does seem almost erotic. Likewise, there's that interesting connection between pleasure and pain, and you might wonder if the officer finds something uniquely pleasurable in the extremely intricate torture of the machine (even before going into it, he does express a desire to try it himself). So yes, there could turn out to be a lot of pretty weird, violent, sex-related stuff in this story, but like everything else it's only there if you start to dig beneath the surface. For a G-rated mind, this story is "G;" for an R-rated mind, who knows?