Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Chapter 12

By Philip K. Dick

Chapter 12

  • This chapter starts with another Tagomi POV. If you're keeping score at home, Tagomi has just pulled ahead of Juliana Frink in terms of "most POV chapters."
  • Tagomi meets with Yatabe—and instantly recognizes him as General Tedeki. So Tagomi knows that this is serious spy stuff.
  • Yatabe explains that the Germans know about Baynes. But because of his cover, they have to pretend to believe it.
  • Baynes arrives and introduces himself as Rudolf Wegener. And the reason he's risking his life is because some members of the German government want to destroy Japan. This is called Operation Dandelion, which doesn't sound as bad as it is.
  • But not everyone in the German government wants this war against Japan. And, obviously, no one in the Japanese government wants it to happen.
  • Unfortunately, Goebbels wants this war and Heydrich doesn't.
  • (For extra-special ridiculousness, Heydrich doesn't want war with Japan only because of administrative reasons. His group is in charge of colonizing Mars, so he wants that to go ahead. But if they went to war with Japan, Goebbels's groups would be in charge of that. So it's really all about how to get the most "Power.")
  • This means that, in order to avoid war, Japan would have to support Heydrich, who is in charge of the worst part of the Nazi regime, the secret police.
  • Baynes gives this secret information over to Tedeki. In classic spy story fashion, the info is hidden in some fake cigarettes.
  • And that's when the SD commandos attack the building to try to kidnap Baynes. Just in case these commandos get past the building's guards, Tagomi loads his "antique" American Civil War pistol.
  • Next we're back with Frank—yes, the exciting attack on Tagomi's office is interrupted by Frank Frink making jewelry—Frank and Ed argue about the business. It's not going well and Frank wants to quit.
  • But before he can do that, Frank gets picked up by the police. At first, he gets arrested for the crime of trying to con Childan; but once they realize he's Jewish, they'll talk about how the Nazis will execute him. (15 years after the end of WWII, the Nazis are still killing all the Jews they can find.)
  • Now that Frank is arrested and facing death, let's go back to Tagomi—twenty minutes later. Tedeki and Tagomi call up some people to ask for help or complain.
  • When two SD commandos break in to Tagomi's office, Tagomi shoots them both with his antique gun. There's actually a pretty vivid description of that, if you like that CSI-type of thing. It's a little upsetting to Tagomi, who prefers the original Law and Order. (We kid.)
  • So Tagomi, Tedeki, and Baynes survive the attack. Unfortunately, there's no proof that the Germans were actually SD agents, so they can't really complain to Hugo Reiss.
  • But Tagomi is so upset that he breaks out his I Ching to try to find some order in this mixed-up world.
  • And now we switch to Baynes's POV in the same scene, which might be the only time that happens.
  • Baynes recognizes Tagomi's pain and wants to help—after all, Tagomi shot those guys for Baynes's sake. But somehow "thanks for killing those Nazis" doesn't seem appropriate.
  • In fact, as Tedeki explains to Baynes, since Tagomi grew up in a Buddhist culture, he thinks all life is sacred. So even killing Nazis will send Tagomi into a nasty depression.
  • The only thing that can help Tagomi, explains Tedeki, is time and viewing this incident from an external frame of reference.

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