What role did the I Ching play in the novel’s composition and philosophical underpinning?


This article already showed the role I Ching played in the novel’s composition and philosophical underpinning. To reach to this point, this article began by defining what I ching is, and then the article went ahead to suggest the rolei ching played in the man in the high castle novel. This article did not stop there; it went further and showed what role I ching played in the philosophical underpinning of the novel. The articles’ elaboration went as follow.


In the order to understand  what role I ching played in the above situation, it would be sensible to first define what I ching is. Fairly, The I Ching itself, consists of 64 hexagrams, traditionally chosen by throwing coins or yarrow sticks, to give the diviner some idea of the situation at hand and, through reading of the “changing lines”, some idea of what is developing.


The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is a matter of centuries of debate, and many commentators have used the book symbolically, often to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.


In the novel above, the man in the high castle, it is true that Dick consulted the I Ching while composing the man in the high castle (McNelly, as cited in DiTommaso, 1990). So if he consulted the I ching, then how did it help him in composing? This is a very good question, but this article stresses that the reader should stick around because the moment the reader learns what role played by the I ching in composing the novel, will get a sensation which might be created in the reader.


The mentioning of the I ching’s role might be enough to throw the assembled readers of science fiction or novel writers into a state of tense excitement, and so you should lose no time in crowding around this article. The I ching’s role in the novel is to guide in decision making. This article mentioned earlier that I ching gives the diviner some idea of the situation at hand.


Likewise, the author of the man in the high castle, is like a diviner. There are some information at hand before using I ching, this article presumes. Several characters in the story use I ching. They consult I ching in order to help them in making moral decisions or to know how to deal with certain important situations. They may know to deal with the situation but they consult it to know what it suggests, alternative.


Frink one of the characters in the man the high castle questioned I ching: ‘How should I approach Wyndam-Matson in order to come to decent terms with him?


He shook the coins six times. Every shook, he drew the outcomes down. He ended up with a Hexagram Fifteen. Ch’ien. Modesty. Ah. The low will be raised up, the high brought down, powerful families humbled; he did not have to refer to the text — he knew it by heart. A good omen. The oracle was giving him favourable council”


In relation to philosophical underpinning of the novel, I ching has a role. This I ching device, according to Mountfort (2016), offers an alternative choice. A classic example would be Frink who consulted I ching. This character may decide not to be humble to the person is about to meet or could be humble. The final decision is in the hand of Frink.


The role I ching played in the novel’s composition is of guidance and offering alternative possibility, but the main decision relies on the author, Bingo.


NOTE: Philosophy -The use of reason in understanding such things as the nature of the real world and existence, the use and limits of knowledge, and the principles of moral judgment:




Mountfort, P. (2016). The I ching and Philip K. Dick’s the man in the high castle. SF-TH Inc, 43(2), 287-309. DOI: 10.5621/sciefictstud.43.2.0287.

DiTommaso, L (1990). Redemption in Philip K. Dick’s he man in the high castle. Science Fiction Studies. 26.

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I am original man from Uganda. I love what i do, and i do what i love.

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