From the classic Mike Hammer film noir Kiss Me Deadly, it refers to a nebulous but potentially devastating threat that consumes a private detective or an entire nation. Much of its terror comes by way of implication. Examples include the communists of the 1950s, the One Ring and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
"Why is there no apostrophe in the great whatsit," the student asked.
"Don't ask stupid questions," the professor replied. "Its existence is simply a fact."
The mysterious, misunderstood threat that propels the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly; it turns out to be a suitcase of a glowing, uncontrollable radioactive substance.
The great whatsit need not name anything specific: it refers to any nebulous but presumably devastating threat that becomes an obsession for an individual or even an entire nation, regardless of its materiality. Much of its terror comes by way of implication. Examples include the communists of the 1950s, the JFK conspiracy and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
What is the great whatsit in this Kafka novel?