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The Man in the High Castle: Criticisms of Reality and Dictatorship by Philip K. Dick

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The Man in the High Castle: Criticisms of Reality and Dictatorship by Philip K. Dick

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” -Philip K. Dick

Botwinick writes in A History of the Holocaust, “The principle that resistance to evil was a moral duty did not exist for the vast majority of Germans. Not until the end of the war did men like Martin Niemoeller and Elie Wiesel arouse the world’s conscience to the realization that the bystander cannot escape guilt or shame” (pg. 45). In The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick writes of a world where Niemoeller and Wiesel’s voices never would have surfaced and in which Germany not only never would have repented for the Holocaust, but would have prided itself upon it. Dick writes of a world where this detached and guiltless attitude prevails globally, a world where America clung on to its isolationist policies, where the Axis powers obtained world domination and effectively wiped Jews from the surface, forcing all resistance and culture to the underground and allowing for those in the 1960’s Nazi world to live without questioning the hate they were born into.

The Man in the High Castle is an alternative history novel that takes place in a reality that diverts from our own when Franklin D. Roosevelt is assassinated in 1933. In this way, the United States never enters into World War II. The novel follows the stories of a few characters scattered through the now puppet-state America. Many character decisions in the book are made by the use of the I Ching oracle, a testament to the influence and control of the Axis powers on culture as well as the questioning of the control of one’s own fate, something that is not reflected in the totalitarian i...

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...Man in the High Castle serves, as a science fiction novel, to make us question our own values and reality. It also implicates the idea of how Nazi ideals would mesh into a contemporary global society and how the practice of hate would pan out in a functioning and stabilized world. Botwinick writes that the study of the Holocaust is invaluable to answering the question of whether or not it could happen again, whether or not humans could again cross the boundaries of “civilized” to “savage.” Dick constructs a reality that is both opposite and necessary to our own, one in which hate and oppression is not only law, but human tendency.

Works Cited

Dick, Philip K. The Man in the High Castle. New York, New York: Vintage Books (Random House), 1990.

Botwinick, Rita Steinhardt. A History of the Holocaust. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.

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