Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Chapter 5

By Philip K. Dick

Chapter 5

  • If you wondered what this world looked like from the POV of a wealthy and powerful businessman, this chapter is for you. This chapter starts off with Wyndam-Matson's POV. (But don't get attached, since this is W-M's only POV chapter.)
  • W-M has just gotten an angry call from Ray Calvin about the fake guns that Childan was upset about.
  • But W-M isn't really in a business mood. He's entertaining a date (Rita) while his wife is out of town. (So, yeah, he's a stand-up guy all around.)
  • W-M suspects the guy who came into Childan's store and made all the trouble was Frank or Ed McCarthy. W-M isn't a great detective for figuring this out. Frank and Ed threatened they would do something if they didn't get $2k from W-M.
  • W-M decides that it's cheaper to give the money than go to the policeā€”but he'll have the police check up on Frank just in case.
  • Then W-M and Rita do what people usually do on dates: they get into a conversation about authenticity and historicity.
  • W-M shows Rita two lighters, which are identical, except that one was in FDR's pocket when he was assassinated by Zangara (which is almost real history). As W-M explains, the sense of history is all in your mind.
  • Unfortunately for W-M, instead of getting Rita in the mood, this leads to a discussion of history. Rita believes that FDR would've beaten the Axis in WWII if only he hadn't been assassinated. And it's such a sad topic that she wants to end the date.
  • But before she goes, she tells W-M that he should read the alternate history book, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. It's by a guy named Hawthorne Abendsen and is very popular, even though it was banned by the Germans from Europe and the Eastern U.S.
  • Rita explains that Grasshopper tells about what would've happened if FDR survived: the U.S. would've beaten Germany and Japan and everything would be rainbows and unicorns.
  • Meanwhile, Baynes and Tagomi are talking business. (We're in Tagomi's POV.) Or rather, Baynes is talking about how he wants to wait for another Japanese businessman named Shinjiro Yatabe before he really gets down to brass tacks (or plastic injection molds).
  • And Yatabe's visit has to be secret because he's on a pension, blah blah blah. (They don't say "blah blah blah," but Tagomi seems totally used to this sort of little deceit.)
  • Now, Tagomi doesn't really seem suspicious, even if this is a little weird. But then, one of Tagomi's assistants speaks Swedish to Baynes, which Baynes doesn't speak. Oops.

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