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In the Penal Colony
by Franz Kafka
The Soldier Timeline and Summary
The soldier appears at the beginning of the story, restraining the condemned man. The soldier is sleepy, and can't understand what the explorer and the officer are saying anyway. The soldier, falling asleep, lets the condemned man come too close to the machine, and is awakened by the officer with a dirt clod. He restrains the condemned man. The soldier puts the condemned man in the machine, though clumsily. He breaks a strap. When the condemned man vomits, the soldier has to clean it up. The soldier is told to free the condemned man, and does. Then they play together. When the officer goes into the machine, the soldier stays and watches. After the officer's death, the soldier takes the explorer to the teahouse, where the old Commandant's grave is. The soldier, with the condemned man, tries to leave the colony with the explorer, but the explorer prevents them from doing so.