1) Author’s name: Jostein Gaarder
2) Notes on the author, his life, his works and time:
Jostein Gaarder, born in 1952 in Norway, has taught philosophy for many years. Sophie’s World is his first book to appear in English. Gaarder lives in Oslo with his family.
3) Title: Sophie’s World
4) Published by: Phoenix
Date of publication: 1991
Number of pages: 436
Part of a series of matching novels: no
A: Novel = it is a long story
B: Alternative realism = it is a bit of a myth because at the end we find out the main character are living in a book
Novel of recreation = the book describes the history of philosophy
Miscellaneous = philosophic novel
6) Structure of the work:
a: Division into chapters
* social setting: the average everyday people
* geographical setting: Norway
* historical setting: nowadays
* initial incident: Sophie finds a letter in her mailbox
* climax: Sophie and Alberto find out they live in a book
7) Account for the title and their relevance to the work:
Sophie is the main character of the book and they live in a ‘world that does not exist’, which is the book of Hildes father. The name Sophie is chosen because in Greek we have the word ‘sophia’ which means wisdom.
8) Themes of the work:
Plato: the whole idea of a world next to ours is a idea of Plato
Knowledge: you think you know something but you don’t (Socrates says:Wisdom is he who know he does not know)
Deceit: you don’t know if it is real
Sophie and Alberto are on a voyage to find out the truth about their world. When they find out the truth they seem to live in a world that is not real (what we think!).
Sophie Amundsen: she is a girl who is very smart because she understands all the philosophical studies she does (which I didn’t)
Alberto Knox: he is Sophie’s teacher in philosophy and he is very smart
Hilde Møller Knag: I think she is the alterego of Sophie in the real world
Hildes father: he is the writer of the book Sophie lives in
Jorunn: the friend of Sophie
Sophie’s mother: she doesn’t understand Sophie because of her philosophy
11) The way the story is told: Third-person narration
12) Type of language: Everyday language
13) Notes on the use of symbols:
The book (Sophie lives in) means we are not in a real world.
Alberto is the symbol of real wisdom.
Sophie is the symbol of the big mass which is stupid.
I liked this story very much because I am pretty interested in philosophy and I now know a bit more about this world. You look a ‘bit’different at our world after you read this book.
It is also written in a style you start to think about it too. So it is a real interactive book.
Sophie Amundsens father is living with her mother while her father is a captain and he is not often home. One day when she arrived from school she finds a letter in her mailbox which says ’Who are you?’. The following days she receives a couple of letters with some philosophic questions. Sophie starts to think about them and she finds out she doesn’t know the exact answers to them. After the three first letter she receives a fourth letter which is a bit longer and it describes what philosophy means.
This is actually the structure of the book: a philosophy teacher, Alberto Knox, asks sophy questions, and Sophie thinks about them (which is quite good because then you can understand all the theories)
Alberto teaches her about classical philosophy and its history. He teaches her about the first nature philosophers, but also about Plato, Socrates and many others.
When Alberto starts to teach about the Middle Ages Sophie meets Alberto and the conversation is not a conversation through letters but then they can really discuss.
Sophie also receives letters which are addressed to Hilde Møller Knag. She also gets birthday wishes at the strangest places and times.
At the end we see the story from Hildes eyes and we learn that Hildes father wrote the story of Sophie and Alberto. When Sophie and Alberto find this out (because they have escaped from their world) they go to the ‘real’world and find out they actually don’t live.
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