Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Lies and Deceit

By Philip K. Dick

Lies and Deceit

Philip K. Dick's books are usually full of deceit, from androids pretending to be human to cops pretending to be criminals (or vice versa—it can get very confusing). So The Man in the High Castle totally fits with his other works since we've got a very long list of lies, including people pretending to be other people (Wegener pretending to Baynes, Fink hiding as Frink, etc.) and objects pretending to be other objects (newly-made "antiques," a radio disguised as a pen, etc.). But this isn't a book teaching you not to lie. As Tagomi realizes, sometimes lies can be useful.

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. Were you ever confused about who is who, since so many people pretend to be others? For instance, when Frank goes in to scare Childan, were you confused about who he was? What about when Kreuz vom Meere discusses Wegener—did you know that he meant Baynes?
  2. Do characters who lie here always know that they're lying? Does lying about your identity ever lead to some confusion in this book?
  3. Who is the most honest character? How is that honesty demonstrated? Do you like the honest character?
  4. How do characters ever find the truth in this book? Childan sends a gun to the lab. Are there other ways to authenticate those antiques? (Also: why doesn't Childan test all his antiques?)

Chew on This

By the end, The Man in the High Castle expresses the idea that truth isn't always a good thing; many lies can be useful and less dangerous (and mind-blowing) than the truth.

Every POV character here is unreliable, which both (a) annoys us and (b) demonstrates that truth is never achievable because our personal issues get in the way.

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