Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Art and Culture

By Philip K. Dick

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Art and Culture

Did you notice that all of our "Symbols" are art and culture—two books, jewelry, and human-made antiques? Yeah, The Man in the High Castle has a lot of art and culture. Partly this is because the book puts together several different cultures—Japanese, Nazi, American. It's also because people use culture to help them make sense of the world they live in. That's especially true of the I Ching, but it's also the way characters come to see other works. Both the Edfrank jewelry and The Grasshopper Lies Heavy give people a view of another (better?) world. So one of art's many questions is, "Are you happy with this world?"

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. How much power does art have? Can art change history?
  2. How do you think The Man in the High Castle differs from Grasshopper Lies Heavy? Did you enjoy the sections that were quoted from that book? Does the "tone" or "style" seem different?
  3. Dick could quote from the I Ching and The Grasshopper, but how does he deal with the non-literature part of culture? Does he describe the jewelry and the antiques enough for you to imagine them?
  4. Does this book show that different cultures can get along? Can we have I Chings used by Americans on German rocketships? Or is that just a crazy dream?

Chew on This

In The Man in the High Castle, art is constantly in a struggle with history.

The Man in the High Castle argues that all types of art can be great, whether we're talking about jewelry or a science fiction book or a classic like Miss Lonelyhearts. (Of course, a science fiction author would argue that all types of art can be equally great.)

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