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Literary Masters – Eastern Europe is a book that Murphy Pendleton can find in Silent Hill: Downpour. It is located in the Centennial Building and tells of psychological horror stories written by German author Franz Kafka.
... more interesting readings of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis have emerged in contemporary criticism. For example, scholar Paul Scheible writes, "While it's possible Gregor's transformation was a matter of bad luck, more likely is that his insect malady was self-inflicted as a way to escape from society." Scheible's argument focuses most acutely on the latter half of the work, during the time when Gregor adopts the fears and behaviors of an insect. "One need only look at Gregor's room, a fortress built of discarded objects, to see a prison of his own making. But don't mistake it as storage for unwanted objects. Gregor in fact wanted to be unwanted, so he created a world barricaded behind unwanted things. The work chronicles his desire-driven descent, from human being to exoskeletal prisoner, that led slowly, but inevitably, toward death." (Scheible, Paul. "The Metamorphosis: Man's Final Act of Free Will")
Another important work from Kafka that still remains pertinent today, especially whenever the merits of capital punishment are discussed, is his 1919 short story "In der Strafkolonie" (In the Penal Colony). This deeply disturbing story tells of the last use of a horrific execution device that slowly kills the victim over a period of twelve hours, during which his crimes are literally carved into his flesh.
The prison in which this ingeniously gruesome device is utilized has decided to retire the machine, but the executioner that operates it seems to have an abnormal love for the elegant violence it inflicts, describing the spiritual ecstasy which grips some victims during the last hours of their life.
In a truly Kafkaesque twist, the executioner decides to swap places with the condemned prisoner during the machine's final use, hoping to achieve the same transcendence-through-violence that he has inflicted on so many before. But because the machine has fallen into-