Characters

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 326

"A Report to an Academy" by Franz Kafka has one main character, an ape from the Gold Coast nicknamed Red Peter, and a host of unnamed minor characters, including teachers and trainers, that help Red Peter escape his cage and become human.

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The story is based around a report Red Peter is making to who he calls the “esteemed gentlemen of the academy.” He calls it a report because he says he doesn't want “any man's judgement.” In fact, he confesses he doesn't really care about being human at all. In his words, “it is something insofar as it helped me out of the cage and created this special way out for me—the way out of human beings. “

Mostly, human beings don't impress him. He likes that the people aboard the ship would sometimes scratch him and that his first teacher would rub his belly, but he only "imitated them because I was looking for a way out, for no other reason." He hates drinking alcohol because it tastes disgusting, and he hates that the humans call him Red Peter—he says the name was derived from another ape that came to Europe before him.

It seems that he only wants to be human so he can continue to be the strong alpha male that the story suggests he was as a wild animal. At one point, he states,

That fellow should have each finger of his writing hand shot off one by one. So far as I am concerned, I may pull my trousers down in front of anyone I like.

At his new home, he has an impresario, probably an animal, that entertains him, and a chimpanzee that he has sex with him, but only at night.

During the day I don’t want to see her. For she has in her gaze the madness of a bewildered trained animal. I’m the only one who recognizes that, and I cannot bear it.

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