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The Man in the High Castle: Criticisms of Reality and Dictatorship

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The Man in the High Castle: Criticisms of Reality and Dictatorship

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THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE: CRITICISMS OF REALITY AND DICTATORSHIP Stephanie Lane Sutton

“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 ideals of the Nazi dictatorship.

The characters that are most central to the influence of the Holocaust on this post-war world are Frank Fink and Mr. Baynes, two Jews whom have somehow escaped Nazi execution and continue to live by...