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Phillip K. Dick Essay

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Introduction

Today, society has a large emphasis on the equality of every human being. For most people, all races, religious beliefs, and nationalities are viewed as being equal. In times past, people were killed because they were different and war was waged. In the crusades, there were massacres because of difference in religious beliefs. The American Civil War was fought largely because the Confederates believed in slavery while the Union was against it. Today, we realize this is ridiculous. Using the comparison between the reality of today and the reality of the past, we realize that other people have the right to choose their religion and everyone has the same rights and should not be treated poorly. Philip K. Dick harnesses this difference in realities perfectly. By using alternate reality, Philip K. Dick goes beyond the reality surrounding us to show that everyone is equal. Dick was born December 16, 1928 along with his twin sister Jane Charlotte Dick. They were born six weeks prematurely. About a month after birth, Jane died. The death of his sister affects almost all of his work and was the most influential event of his entire life. He was deeply affected psychologically by her death in many ways. ...read more.

Middle

After another failure to establish himself as a mainstream novelist, Dick returned to science fiction once and for all in 1959 with Time Out of Joint. But his style had changed after his experience of writing novels throughout the late 50's. In the novel, a man discovers that he is part of a military experiment, and that the town he lives in is a hallucination (Behrens/Ruch). This was a change from his previous writings which were based on many of his own experiences. The novel was marked by more developed characters, a more detailed environment, and an overall improvement in literary skill (Behrens/Ruch). Dick's writing had been maturing throughout the 1950s, and in 1962 he published what many critics consider to be his most important work, The Man in the High Castle. At the center of the story lies a fictional novel titled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Outlawed by the German government, the book describes a world in which the Allied powers were victorious in World War II, and is written by a secluded man living in the Rocky Mountains (Behrens/Ruch). The Man in the High Castle is a prime example of Dick using alternate reality to show that everybody is equal. Dick's characters often view other races or religions lowly. The Germans hate the Jews while many Americans hate the Japanese. Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dick published his final book, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, in 1982. It accounts the last years of Episcopalian Bishop James Pike. On a personal voyage to the roots of his own changing faith, the Bishop died during a hiking expedition in the deserts of the Dead Sea. The novel gave Dick the chance to reflect upon the pain, sadness and religious pleasure of death, possibly as a form of therapy after a decade of watching several close friends die (Behrens/Ruch). After spending so much of his life writing in alternate reality, this may have brought him closer to the real world and been a non-fictional reality to him of life. In 1982, Dick died from complications brought about by a series of strokes, ending his troubled life and years of physical and emotional self-abuse (Behrens/Ruch). Throughout his life, Philip K. Dick wrote many of the greatest science fiction books ever. What made many of them great is his use of alternate reality. He may have been so good with it because of his familiarity with it from his experiences throughout his life such as his vertigo as a child or his 2-3-74 experience. As a writer, he was great because of his ability to develop a completely different reality and then use that reality to convey that humans are all equal. ...read more.

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