Study Guide

Ed McCarthy in The Man in the High Castle

By Philip K. Dick

Ed McCarthy

Ed McCarthy should have his own POV sections, which is why we're here holding signs that say "POV for Ed Now." We hope this protest is understandable. Ed is not only the mastermind behind Edfrank jewelry, but he has a whole family life on the side that we never see. He mentions his wife and kids once to Frank, inviting him over for dinner with "Jean" and "the kids" (4.72).

But we never get to see that side of Ed and we never get to hear his thoughts. That's a shame because Frank definitely respects Ed's mental talents, calling him "a natural leader" (4.44). Even when Frank wants to quit the business, McCarthy seems to cajole him into going along for a little more (12.123). So Ed is a smart guy, able to inspire and convince people—and able to design jewelry on top of that.

So why not give him his own POV? Is it because this book is more interested in people who are uncertain? Ed never really shows any uncertainty. When Frank comes back after being arrested, he finds Ed calmly eating his dinner (14.254). Is it because Ed has less to lose than Frank? After all, Ed doesn't have to worry about people finding out that he's secretly Jewish. Is it because The Man in the High Castle wants us to focus less on masterminds and leaders than on the people who get caught up in their plans? (For instance, we don't see Baynes's bosses, the ones who decided to send him to America with secret plans; we only see Baynes as he carries out those plans.) Or maybe it's just that Ed's internal thoughts are pretty much the same as his external thoughts. (For instance, when he goes into Childan's store, Childan seems to be right when he interprets Ed's story.)

''We can't say for certain why Dick doesn't give Ed a POV section. But by looking at those questions, we can see some differences between Ed and the other characters who do have POV sections. The characters who get POV sections are more uncertain or conflicted—they have complex thoughts that don't always come out in their actions.

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