Study Guide

The Man in the High Castle Prejudice

By Philip K. Dick

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Let's not pretend that the real 1960s were totally awesome and everyone got along. There was quite a bit of prejudice back then, from whites-only clubs to this mess. (For more on this real history of the Civil Rights Movement, check out our guide.) But if the Nazis won, things might even be worse: African Americans are enslaved, Jews and Africans exterminated. But since we focus on the Pacific States in The Man in the High Castle, the prejudice we primarily see is against white Americans and Japanese.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. Which character is least racist in this book? That is, which character (or characters) never stereotypes another racial group and never uses racial slurs?
  2. How do characters react to their own prejudice? For instance, does Childan ever feel bad about stereotyping the Japanese? Does Tagomi ever feel bad about stereotyping the whites?
  3. Do we get to see why people are prejudiced? Is there any explanation for, say, Childan's feelings about the Japanese?
  4. Is there any way to get over prejudice according to this novel? Does anyone teach another character not to be prejudiced?

Chew on This

Writing in the 1960s, PKD shows us how prejudice can keep people fighting even when they should be cooperating against bigger threats.

With its nonjudgmental tone, The Man in the High Castle allows us to see ourselves in these characters—and especially to see ourselves in their faults, like prejudice.

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