The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle Imagery

The Rockies at Sunset

After conducting her judo class, Juliana gazes out at the mountains. "Shadows advancing from the Rockies. Blue peaks turning to night. A flock of slow birds, migratory, made their way parallel with the mountains. Here and there a car turned its headlights on; she saw the twin dots along the highway" (pg. 30).

The poetry of this description ("blue peaks turning to night") is avoids too much ornate detail thanks to the author's style of delivery: Phillip K. Dick utilizes short, choppy sentences throughout the novel, evoking the speech patterns of a non-native speaker or radio transmissions.


As he confronts his boss about taking his position back, Frank muses on the man's odd appearance. "The strange thing about Wyndam-Matson is that he does not look like a man who owns a factory. He looks like a Tenderloin bum, a wino, who has been given a bath, new clothes, a shave, haircut, shot of vitamins, and set out into the world with five dollars to find a new life" (pg. 45).

Without describing Wyndam-Matson directly, this description offers a great deal of imagery through metaphor. Wyndam-Matson is compared to a wino, someone who needs a haircut and a bath, and so the reader is able to develop an image of an unwashed, longhaired man.

The Lights of Cheyenne

Shortly after killing Joe, Juliana heads to Cheyenne, a major city in the Rocky Mountain States. "The air smelled good and the signs and lights of Cheyenne seemed particularly exciting. In front of a bar two pretty, black-eyed Indian prostitutes quarreling - she slowed to watch. Many cars, shiny ones, coasted up and down the streets the entire spectacle had an aura of brightness and expectancy, of looking ahead to some happy and important event, rather than back...back, she thought, to the stale and the dreary, the used-up and thrown-away" (pg. 248).

The city of Cheyenne is still slightly rough around the edges (as indicated by the pair of prostitutes), but overall it is an up-and-coming center - in sharp contrast to the rest of the Rocky Mountain States. Dick uses the descriptors "shiny," "brightness," and "spectacle" to convey the wonders of this city, finishing the description by contracting it with the dreariness of the places Juliana has left behind.

San Francisco, In the Novel

The first pages of the novel describe an alternate San Francisco. "Outdoors along the sidewalk businessmen hurried toward their offices along Montgomery Street. Far off, a cable car passed; Childan halted to watch it with pleasure. Women in their long colorful silk dresses...he watched them, too" (pg. 3).

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this description is how unremarkable it is: it could easily be a description of the San Francisco in our world. This example of imagery sets the scene for the novel, suggesting a realistic description of events and people - one that is different from the way that things have played out in our world, but still has the same level of realism.