The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle Metaphors and Similes

Frank's Former Fantasies (Simile)

Before his confrontation with Wyndam-Matson, Frank ponders how much he has changed. Shortly after the war, he had planned to stage a violent uprising against the Japanese occupiers, but this desire has slowly faded. "When he thought of the idea now, the great blood bath, the purging of the pinocs and their masters, he felts as if he were reviewing one of those stained yearbooks from his high school days, coming upon an account of his boyhood aspirations" (pg. 9).

Like the fantasies of a teenager, Frank's desire to violently overthrow the Japanese has faded and matured with time.

Milk and Cream (Metaphor)

As Tagomi is awaiting more information on the arrival of Mr. Baynes, he receives a coded message from the Home Islands of Japan: it is a reference to an eerie song, "Things are seldom what they seem - skim milk masquerades as cream" (pg. 21). This mysterious message signals two things to Tagomi: firstly, whoever sent him this transmission fears disloyalty from within Japan, and secondly, Mr. Baynes is a spy.

‘A thing that turns out to be something very different’ is a common theme throughout the book. In some cases, people deliberately pretend to be what they are not - "masquerading" as something else, as the song goes. At first glance, it is very difficult to tell the difference between cream and skim milk, but further acquaintance quickly reveals the difference. And so it shall perhaps be with Baynes.

Frank the Bird (Metaphor)

Juliana thinks of her former husband as she chats with the dashing young Italian man in the restaurant. "She had always told Frank that he was ugly. Large pores. Big nose. Her own skin was finely knit, unusually so. Did he fall dead without me? A fink is a finch, a form of bird. And they say birds die" (pg. 33).

This quote reveals a great deal about Juliana's complicated relationship with Frank. She thinks her husband is ugly - a particularly striking feature when compared to her beauty - but she still worries about him. She compares him to a bird, a delicate and fragile thing, and wonders whether he died without her.

Blind Moles (Metaphor)

Following his violent physical reaction to the recitation of the Nazi candidates, Tagomi has a stark realization about the nature of evil. He realizes that evil is real, and that people are all subject to it. "We're blind moles. Creeping through the soil, feeling with our snoots. We know nothing. I perceived I don't know where to go. Screech with fear, only" (pg. 96).

Tagomi compares people who are ignorant about the nature of evil to blind moles, which cannot truly see the world around them and must move blindly. Unlike these people, Tagomi's eyes have been opened.

The Worm of Art (metaphor)

On page 183, Childan muses about the nature of art. "Art, or something not life, is long, stretching out endless, like a concrete worm. Flat, white, unsmoothed by any passage over or across it."

When Paul suggests that the wondrous Edfrank Jewelry should be mass-produced as good luck charms, Childan is pushed beyond the breaking point. In sharp contrast to his usual policy of meekly submitting and saying what his listener wants him to say, he demands an apology from Paul for suggesting that American art is good for nothing but imitation.

It is Childan's understanding of art that allows him to do this. He realizes that art, like a long flat worm, stretches out far beyond his individual life and is worthy of his respect. Peculiarly, this metaphor does not depend on any of the negative connotations that are associated with worms.