Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Chapter 4

By Philip K. Dick

Chapter 4

  • Frank's old boss Wyndam-Matson won't rehire Frank after the mean, hurtful things Frank said. So Frank just goes to pick up his personal tools from the factory foreman Ed McCarthy.
  • But McCarthy has a plan for the two of them to go into business together. Instead of making fake antiques, they'll make real jewelry. They just need $2000 to start off (to buy some raw materials and other tools) and they can go to stores like American Artistic Handcrafts. (A-ha—it's all coming together now.)
  • Frank isn't sure about this plan, so he goes to consult the I Ching. (That is a phrase you will have to get used to in this book.) Frank gets a weird result that seems to say he should go into business with Ed, but that there's some doom coming for everyone.
  • McCarthy also has a plan to get the starting money from Wyndam-Matson, so everything is going well—except for that whole "doom coming for everyone" thing.
  • Meanwhile, Robert Childan has a new customer in his store. This guy claims to work for a Japanese admiral on the ship Syokaku and the admiral wants to buy a lot of Civil War pistols.
  • This means that Childan is going to make a lot of money, so… yay. Only this customer looks at the gun and says no deal because the gun is a fake.
  • Childan calmly thinks through the possibilities: should he kill himself now or later? Because this story could ruin his rep as a dealer, so he might as well kill himself. (Also, Childan might be a little melodramatic.)
  • But first Childan sends the gun off to the lab to get it tested.
  • The lab says it's a fake.
  • So Childan calls up his supplier Ray Calvin to yell about this forgery and get a refund.
  • And then Childan checks on the Syokaku and learns that ship was sunk in the war. So the guy who claimed to be a customer totally just played Childan for some reason. Cue sad trombone. (Let this be a lesson to all of us to do our research.)

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