Sophie’s World

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Sophie Amundsen Character Analysis

The titular character and protagonist of Sophie’s World, Sophie Amundsen is a young teenager about to celebrate her 15th birthday. Sophie is a lonely girl, and with the exception of Joanna Ingebritsen, she seems to have no friends. Over the course of the novel, Sophie receives a series of letters from a mysterious figure, and embarks on a course in the history of Western philosophy, tutored by Alberto Knox. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Sophie is—within the context of the book—the literary creation of Albert Knag. And yet as Sophie’s imaginary status becomes increasingly obvious, she also becomes more earnest, more thoughtful, and more complicated—in short, more “real” to us. In this way, Sophie is meant to be a stand-in for the reader: an inquisitive, open-minded explorer. (It’s also worth noting that the name “Sophie” is similar to the Greek word for “skill” or “wisdom”—as in, philo-sophy) As the novel ends, Sophie seems to have come to terms with the nature of her reality: whether she’s fictional or not, she realizes, she can attain some freedom and independence for herself by exploring the world of ideas. In all, Sophie’s experiences in Sophie’s World constitute something of a coming-of-age story, whereby Sophie uses philosophy and reason to come to terms with her loneliness and uncertainty about the world.

Sophie Amundsen Quotes in Sophie’s World

The Sophie’s World quotes below are all either spoken by Sophie Amundsen or refer to Sophie Amundsen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of Sophie’s World published in 2007.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“Who are you?” Sophie asked.
She received no response to this either, but felt a momentary confusion as to whether it was she or her reflection who had asked the question.
Sophie pressed her index finger to the nose in the mirror and said, “You are me.”
As she got no answer to this, she turned the sentence around and said, “I am you.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Brass Mirror
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

In this almost "primal" scene, Sophie stares at herself in the mirror, and finds—of course—an image of herself staring back. Although the moment seems trivial, it's actually one of the most important in the novel. Sophie is examining herself and expressing her self-consciousness—in short, beginning to think like a philosopher. Moreover, the scene foreshadows the self-referentiality of the novel Sophie's World. The novel will make reference to its own artificiality—to the fact that it is just a novel—in much the same way that Sophie acknowledges her own reflection staring back at her. The starting point for any philosophical investigation, it would seem, is the kind of self-analysis that Sophie is practicing here.

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Chapter 2 Quotes

A lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity as when a magician suddenly pulls a rabbit out of a hat which has just been shown to them empty.
In the case of the rabbit, we know the magician has tricked us. What we would like to know is just how he did it. But when it comes to the world it’s somewhat different. We know that the world is not all sleight of hand and deception because here we are in it, we are part of it. Actually, we are the white rabbit being pulled out of the hat. The only difference between us and the white rabbit is that the rabbit does not realize it is taking part in a magic trick. Unlike us. We feel we are part of something mysterious and we would like to know how it all works.

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Sophie reads a letter from Alberto Knox, her mentor and friend. Knox makes an interesting point: people don't usually ask themselves deep questions about the "magic" of the universe. Although the universe is full of wonder, people are so used to their everyday lives that they never stop to ask where the world comes from, how life is possible, and other philosophical questions. It's as if the world is one big magic trick, and people are so used to seeing it that they've stopped wondering how it works, or even being entertained by it.

And yet Alberto insists that the desire to understand the magic trick—to understand the universe—is precisely what makes humans human. Humans have been blessed with the gift of self-consciousness, so they should use their intelligence and wisdom to study life's mysteries, especially through the study of philosophy.

Chapter 4 Quotes

All the earliest philosophers shared the belief that there had to be a certain basic substance at the root of all change. How they arrived at this idea is hard to say. We only know that the notion gradually evolved that there must be a basic substance that was the hidden cause of all changes in nature. There had to be “something” that all things came from and returned to. For us, the most interesting part is actually not what solutions these earliest philosophers arrived at, but which questions they asked and what type of answer they were looking for. We are more interested in how they thought than in exactly what they thought.

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Alberto Knox, speaking to his student, Sophie, offers an interesting take on the history of philosophy, and a model for how to study philosophy through a historical lens. Knox acknowledges that the earliest philosophers offered explanations for the mysteries of the universe that we now know to be false. (For example, some Greek philosophers thought everything was made out of water.) And yet even though early philosophers' ideas have become obsolete, Knox insists that they're still worth studying: it's worth examining how philosophers went about answering basic questions, even if the answers they arrived at have been disproved.

Knox's ideas can be applied to the rest of the novel: even if we disagree with Kant or Hegel, it's worth studying them to see how their minds worked. Their conclusions, we might think, are wrong, but their methods can be put to good use. In other words, it's necessary to study the history of philosophy if we want to practice philosophy now.

Chapter 7 Quotes

A philosopher is therefore someone who recognizes that there is a lot he does not understand, and is troubled by it. In that sense, he is still wiser than all those who brag about their knowledge of things they know nothing about.
“Wisest is she who knows she does not know,” I said previously. Socrates himself said, “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” Remember this statement, because it is an admission that is rare, even among philosophers. Moreover, it can be so dangerous to say it in public that it can cost you your life. The most subversive people are those who ask questions. Giving answers is not nearly as threatening. Any one question can be more explosive than a thousand answers.

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Socrates
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

In this important passage, Alberto Knox tells Sophie about the life and death of Socrates. Socrates, Knox argues, is important in the history of philosophy because of his method—the method of asking questions—moreso than any of the specific answers he provided. Socrates' questioning was considered radical and even dangerous, because it showed how little the average person understood about the world.

Knox's analysis of Socrates illustrates how important philosophy is, and how important studying the history of philosophy can be. Philosophy isn't just an esoteric hobby—it's a genuinely heroic, dangerous undertaking that can be used to change society. (If it wasn't, then Socrates wouldn't have been executed.) Furthermore, it's important for Knox and Sophie to study the history of philosophy so that they can learn from philosophers' methods. Socrates' theory of forms might not hold much weight anymore, but his method of persistent questioning is still very important: it's the method philosophers still use today.

“We don’t learn anything there. The difference between schoolteachers and philosophers is that school-teachers think they know a lot of stuff that they try to force down our throats. Philosophers try to figure things out together with the pupils.”
“Now we’re back to white rabbits again! You know something? I demand to know who your boyfriend really is. Otherwise I’ll begin to think he is a bit disturbed.”
Sophie turned her back on the dishes and pointed at her mother with the dish mop.
“It’s not him who’s disturbed. But he likes to disturb others—to shake them out of their rut.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Sophie argues with her mother—a rather worldly woman who is clearly concerned about her daughter's new ideas. Sophie tries to tell her mother what Alberto Knox has been teaching her about the importance of philosophy, but Sophie's mother doesn't really listen to her daughter at all. On one hand, Sophie's mother is being condescending in assuming that Sophie just has a new boyfriend, but on the other hand Sophie is acting rather pompous all of a sudden, delivering grand statements like this one about "the difference between schoolteachers and philosophers."

The scene is important because it dramatizes a point Alberto has already made: most people are too busy with their everyday lives to bother with the basic philosophical questions of the universe. Sophie's mother may have been inquisitive and curious when she was a child, but the pressures of adulthood have distracted her from philosophy: she's so concerned with her career and her duties as a mother that she seems uninterested in her daughter's investigations.

Chapter 9 Quotes

The thought of the “young girl” led Sophie to the last question: Are women and men equally sensible? She was not so sure about that. It depended on what Plato meant by sensible. Something the philosopher had said about Socrates came into her mind. Socrates had pointed out that everyone could understand philosophical truths if they just used their common sense. He had also said that a slave had the same common sense as a nobleman. Sophie was sure that he would also have said that women had the same common sense as men.

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen, Socrates , Plato
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Sophie considers a question Alberto Knox has presented her with: are women and men equally sensible? Sophie believes that women and men are equal on an intellectual level; indeed, she cites aspects of Socrates' thought (the theory of forms, for example) to prove her point.

The quotation shows Sophie synthesizing the knowledge she's learned from Knox's lessons. Instead of just memorizing some facts about Socrates, Sophie is applying Socrates' teachings to her own life. In doing so, Sophie proves that she isn't just a passive student, absorbing lessons from a teacher in a classroom—instead, she's actively participating in her own education, flexing her intellectual muscles. Moreover, Sophie's deduction about Socrates and women's rights shows that it's possible to apply philosophers' ideas to one's own life: philosophy might seem like an outdated subject, but in fact it's a very relevant discipline.

Chapter 11 Quotes

Finally, let us look at Aristotle’s views on women. His was unfortunately not as uplifting as Plato’s. Aristotle was more inclined to believe that women were incomplete in some way. A woman was an “unfinished man.” In reproduction, woman is passive and receptive whilst man is active and productive; for the child inherits only the male characteristics, claimed Aristotle. He believed that all the child’s characteristics lay complete in the male sperm. The woman was the soil, receiving and bringing forth the seed, whilst the man was the “sower.” Or, in Aristotelian language, the man provides the “form” and the woman contributes the “substance.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Plato , Aristotle
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Sophie learns about Aristotle, a philosopher who was arguably even more influential than Plato, but whose philosophy wasn't as friendly to women. Aristotle disagreed with Plato in arguing that women were intellectually and physically inferior to men.

And yet even if Sophie (or we, the readers) disagrees with Aristotle on women's rights, it's important to study his ideas. Aristotle was an intelligent man, and yet he allowed the sexist culture of his era to influence his thinking: he used philosophy to rationalize the subjugation of women that he saw all around him. By studying Aristotle, Sophie learns how to take great philosopher's ideas with a grain of salt: to accept some of their ideas while rejecting others as the products of ignorance or bigotry.

Chapter 12 Quotes

After careful consideration Sophie felt she had come to the conclusion that healthy forests and a pure environment were more valuable than getting to work quickly. She gave several more examples. Finally she wrote: “Personally, I think Philosophy is a more important subject than English Grammar. It would therefore be a sensible priority of values to have philosophy on the timetable and cut down a bit on English lessons.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker)
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Sophie shows that she's learned a great deal from her philosophy lessons with Alberto Knox. Assigned to write an essay for school, Sophie produces a coherent argument about the importance of philosophy.

The quotation is important because it shows Sophie applying her philosophy lessons to real life: philosophy helps Sophie succeed in school. Moreover, the quotation shows that Sophie isn't just a parrot: while she's learning lots of facts about philosophy, she's also learning how to construct original philosophical arguments. One could even say that the difference between Sophie's school education (the education she's legally required to receive) and her philosophical education boils down to the difference between parroting information and synthesizing knowledge. In school, Sophie learns a lot of information but very little wisdom; with Knox, she learns how to think for herself.

Chapter 14 Quotes

She herself was just an ordinary person. But if she knew her historical roots, she would be a little less ordinary. She would not be living on this planet for more than a few years. But if the history of mankind was her own history, in a way she was thousands of years old.

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Sophie begins to feel the scale of the history of philosophy. She's learned about the ancient Greeks, and the knowledge she's learned gives her a sense of the vastness of Western philosophy. One could say that Sophie is experiencing the sublime here: she's experiencing something so vast and complex (philosophy through the ages) that she feels tiny and insignificant. And yet Sophie also feels proud that she can recognize the vast, complex subject that is philosophy—most people barely acknowledge it exists.

The quotation is a good piece of evidence for the importance of studying the history of philosophy. Unlike science or mathematics, philosophy doesn't necessarily progress over time: Hegel isn't necessarily any more right than Aristotle, simply because he's a more recent thinker. Therefore, it's important to study the totality of philosophy, rather than the most current thinkers. Furthermore, studying the history of philosophy gives Sophie a sense of the complexities of the human mind: she's in awe of people like Plato and Aristotle, who used their ingenuity to study the universe. In short, philosophy provides Sophie with a sense of wisdom that few teenagers ever achieve.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“St. Augustine’s point was that no man deserves God’s redemption. And yet God has chosen some to be saved from damnation, so for him there was nothing secret about who will be saved and who damned. It is preordained. We are entirely at his mercy.”
“So in a way, he returned to the old belief in fate.”
“Perhaps. But St. Augustine did not renounce man’s responsibility for his own

life. He taught that we must live in awareness of being among the chosen. He did not deny that we have free will. But God has ‘foreseen’ how we will live.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker), Saint Augustine
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Sophie meets Alberto Knox in a church. There, Knox tells Sophie about the life of Saint Augustine, one of the most important Christian philosophers. In doing so, Knox brings up an important philosophical concept: the idea of free will.

As Knox puts it, Augustine believed that humans' lives were predestined according to the wisdom of God. And yet Augustine didn't believe in fate, plain and simple—he believed that humans had the freedom to make their own choices. While Augustine beliefs may seem contradictory, Augustine fashioned a sophisticated model of human freedom that didn't infringe on God's omnipotence. The idea of free will becomes increasingly important to the novel as we realize that Sophie and Alberto are not, strictly speaking, free. In general, then, the problems with Augustine's philosophy—the problem of how free will can coexist with a divine, all-knowing entity—foreshadow the second half of the novel.

“It’s interesting to note that the eggs of mammals were not discovered until 1827. It was therefore perhaps not so surprising that people thought it was the man who was the creative and lifegiving force in reproduction. We can moreover note that, according to Aquinas, it is only as nature-being that woman is inferior to man. Woman’s soul is equal to man’s soul. In Heaven there is complete equality of the sexes because all physical gender differences cease to exist.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Saint Thomas Aquinas
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

Alberto Knox educates Sophie about the history of Western philosophy in the late Middle Ages. Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the key Christian philosophers, believed that women were inferior to men physically, and yet equal spiritually. On Earth, women were weaker than men, and yet in Heaven, their souls were the same.

It's possible to criticize Aquinas for his sexism—for arguing that women were inferior to men during the course of their natural lives. But it's also possible to praise him for being progressive, at least by the standards of the late Middle Ages, on women's rights. When studying the history of Western philosophy in general, it's important to refrain from criticizing every philosopher for sexism and racism, even if such critiques are easy to make. Even if Aquinas isn't totally "PC" by 21st century standards, he pushed philosophy in the right direction—toward gender equality—and he deserves some credit for doing so.

Chapter 16 Quotes

“When Newton had proved that the same natural laws applied everywhere in the universe, one might think that he thereby undermined people’s faith in God’s omnipotence. But Newton’s own faith was never shaken. He regarded the natural laws as proof of the existence of the great and almighty God. It’s possible that man’s picture of himself fared worse.”
“How do you mean?”
“Since the Renaissance, people have had to get used to living their life on a random planet in the vast galaxy. I am not sure we have wholly accepted it even now. But there were those even in the Renaissance who said that every single one of us now had a more central position than before.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker), Sir Isaac Newton
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

Alberto Knox teaches Sophie about Sir Isaac Newton, one of the key figures in Western philosophy (even though he wasn't a philosopher!). Newton's contribution to philosophy is crucial: he showed that the natural world functions according to a number of predictable, mathematical rules. Newton's insights into the laws of science are themselves one part of an important trend in the history of Western thought: scientists following Newton used their training to show that humanity was, in a word, not special—for example, that humans evolved over time, the same as monkeys (Darwin), or that humans' brains were chaotic and unpredictable, like animals' (Freud).

While it's possible to interpret Newton and his successors as dangerous figures who ushered in an age of chaos and uncertainty, Knox disagrees. Newton, Darwin, and other may have used science to show that man wasn't "at the center of the universe," but they also suggested the importance of individuality and personal freedom. Ironically, if scientific laws, not God, control the natural world, individual people become more powerful and central than ever before.

Chapter 18 Quotes

“But Descartes tried to work forward from this zero point. He doubted everything, and that was the only thing he was certain of. But now something struck him: one thing had to be true, and that was that he doubted. When he doubted, he had to be thinking, and because he was thinking, it had to be certain that he was a thinking being. Or, as he himself expressed it: Cogito, ergo sum.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Rene Descartes
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

Knox describes an important philosopher, Rene Descartes. As with other important philosophers, Descartes is important to Sophie not so much for his ideas as for his methods: somewhat like Socrates, Descartes used a method of "systematic doubt": denying the existence of anything until it was proven true. Using systematic doubt, Descartes arrived at one conclusion: he, a thinking being, existed. ("I think, therefore I am.")

Knox's gloss on Descartes is important because it shows how greatly philosophy changed since the Middle Ages. Where Augustine and Aquinas believed that all thought must begin with belief—the belief in a Christian God—Descartes argued that philosophy must begin with doubt. Descartes wasn't a nihilist; rather, he maintained that the only way to truly believe something was first to doubt it and then use logic to prove it. The quotation also suggests that philosophy begins with introspection: for example, Descartes examining the capacity of his own mind. In this way, Knox’s discussion of Descartes takes us back to the beginning of the novel, in which Sophie looks at her own reflection in the mirror.

Chapter 19 Quotes

“Or think of a lion in Africa. Do you think it makes up its mind to be a beast of prey? Is that why it attacks a limping antelope? Could it instead have made up its mind to be a vegetarian?”
“No, a lion obeys its nature.”
“You mean, the laws of nature. So do you, Sophie, because you are also part of nature. You could of course protest, with the support of Descartes, that a lion is an animal and not a free human being with free mental faculties. But think of a newborn baby that screams and yells. If it doesn’t get milk it sucks its thumb. Does that baby have a free will?”
“I guess not.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker), Rene Descartes
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Alberto Knox clarifies some of the ideas of Spinoza, one of the most important—and difficult—of all Western philosophers. Spinoza argued that free will was an illusion. Humans were no freer than lions or other animals—just like lions, they have an inborn nature that leads them to crave certain things (food, love, art, etc.). Humans only believe that they’re free because they can’t stand the idea that they’re slaves to their own nature.

In addition to being a good explanation of a complicated philosopher, the passage is also an illustration of Knox’s philosophical method. Knox doesn’t tell Sophie how to understand Spinoza; instead, he uses a series of short, pointed questions to keep Sophie engaged in the discussion. Like Socrates, he pushes Sophie to broaden her mind and consider ideas she would have otherwise dismissed. 

Chapter 20 Quotes

“Before we sense anything, then, the mind is as bare and empty as a blackboard before the teacher arrives in the classroom. Locke also compared the mind to an unfurnished room. But then we begin to sense things. We see the world around us, we smell, taste, feel, and hear. And nobody does this more intensely than infants. In this way what Locke called simple ideas of sense arise. But the mind does not just passively receive information from outside it. Some activity happens in the mind as well. The single sense ideas are worked on by thinking, reasoning, believing, and doubting, thus giving rise to what he calls reflection. So he distinguished between ‘sensation’ and ‘reflection.’ The mind is not merely a passive receiver. It classifies and processes all sensations as they come streaming in. And this is just where one must be on guard.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, John Locke
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Knox explains the philosophy of John Locke to Sophie. Locke believed that the mind is born a “blank slate”—just an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge. And yet Locke also believed that the mind was born with the capacity to perform certain actions, such as thinking and reflecting. Humans are unique from animals, he argued, in that they can reflect on what they observe, and learn from their experiences.

Knox’s explanation of Locke has clear ramifications for his lessons with Sophie. Just as Locke argued, Sophie is using her experiences and observations to learn. One could even say that she’s classifying and processing her lessons with Knox, converting them from experience to wisdom.

Chapter 23 Quotes

In a momentary vision of absolute clarity Hilde knew that Sophie was more than just paper and ink. She really existed.

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen, Hilde Møller Knag
Related Symbols: The Binder / Sophie’s World
Page Number: 298
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Hilde—who, we realize, has been reading a book called “Sophie’s World,” starring Sophie Amundsen—decides that Sophie is “real,” despite the fact that she’s also a fictional character created by Hilde's Father. In an interesting reversal of Spinoza, Hilde decides that Sophie’s fictional nature is no barrier to her being real: since all humans are “creations” of a divine entity, then Hilde herself isn’t any more real than Sophie.

Hilde’s relationship with Sophie also suggests that ideas and concepts are more real than the physical world (one of the oldest ideas in Western philosophy). Even though Sophie lacks a body, the idea of Sophie carries with it a certain amount of sense—enough, perhaps for Sophie to qualify as a real person. Furthermore, the notion that a fiction can be real is a premise for reading Sophie’s World in the first place—the fact that Hilde is herself a fictional creation doesn’t stop us from liking her, empathizing with her, or learning from her. Hilde and Sophie are both literary devices, designed to teach readers about philosophical ideas and, perhaps, make us question the reality of our own lives.

Chapter 24 Quotes

“One of those who fought hardest for the rights of women during the French Revolution was Olympe de Gouges. In 1791—two years after the revolution—she published a declaration on the rights of women. The declaration on the rights of the citizen had not included any article on women’s natural rights. Olympe de Gouges now demanded all the same rights for women as for men.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Olympe de Gouges
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:

 As Sophie moves on with her history of philosophy, she’s delighted to finally encounter some female philosophers. Olympe de Gouges, a figure of the French Revolution, was executed for demanding equal rights for men and women—a clear sign of the radicalism of her ideas. De Gouges’s execution further demonstrates the deep sexism of Western society—it’s telling that after thousands of years with no prominent female philosophers, the first such female philosopher was murdered. It’s also no coincidence that de Gouges emerged at the same time as the French Revolution: at a time when people were questioning the most basic assumptions about how society should work (that there should be a monarchy, for example), de Gouges rode the wave of radicalism to write her own declaration of gender equality.

Chapter 25 Quotes

“So now let’s sum up. According to Kant, there are two elements that contribute to man’s knowledge of the world. One is the external conditions that we cannot know of before we have perceived them through the senses. We can call this the material of knowledge. The other is the internal conditions in man himself—such as the perception of events as happening in time and space and as processes conforming to an unbreakable law of causality. We can call this the form of knowledge.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Immanuel Kant
Page Number: 325
Explanation and Analysis:

Knox sums up the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, one of the giants of Western philosophy. Kant elaborated on Locke in believing that the human mind was a combination of passivity and activity. The mind passively absorbed experiences, using the five senses. At the same time, however, Kant believed that the mind was hard-wired to interpret these experiences in certain ways: to feel the sense of time, space, etc. There were also certain “ideas” about the universe, which were impossible to prove but which also determined the way the human mind experienced life—causation was one such idea.

In all, Kant’s view of the human mind is important to Sophie’s education because it suggests the way that she interprets Knox’s lessons: she hears his voice and reads his letter, but she also brings to the table certain predetermined ideas of her own, such as causation. Kant is also important because he argues that there’s a limit to what logic and philosophy can prove: the idea of causation, for example, is impossible to prove or disprove. Kant foreshadows his philosophical successors, who will go much further in challenging Western philosophy’s faith in logic and reason.

Chapter 26 Quotes

“The fairy tale was the absolute literary ideal of the Romantics—in the same way that the absolute art form of the Baroque period was the theater. It gave the poet full scope to explore his own creativity.”
“He could play God to a fictional universe.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker)
Page Number: 349
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Knox discusses the Romantics with Sophie. He argues that the fairy tale was the most important literary form for Romantic writers, because it allowed such writers to “play god” over their own literary creations. By this point in the novel, we’re well aware that Sophie and Alberto are themselves the creations of a writer, Albert Knag (who is himself a character in the text!). In other words, Alberto and Sophie are talking—obliquely—about their own situation: they’re puppets in a writer’s fictional universe, just like characters in a Romantic author’s fairy tale, or actors in a Baroque writer's play. The question then becomes: are Alberto and Sophie exercising any real freedom by talking about their own existence? They’re still fictional creations, and yet it’s suggested that by acknowledging their own artificiality, they reach some form of freedom from authorial control. (An even better question might be: are we, the readers, any more free than Sophie and Alberto? We’re probably not characters in a book, but are our decisions any less predetermined?)

Chapter 29 Quotes

“That society would be a just society. It would have arisen among equals.”
“Men and women!”
“That goes without saying. None of them knew whether they would wake up as men or women. Since the odds are fifty-fifty, society would be just as attractive for women as for men.”
“It sounds promising.”
“So tell me, was the Europe of Karl Marx a society like that?”
“Absolutely not!”
“But do you by any chance know of such a society today?”
“Hm ... that’s a good question.”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker), Karl Marx
Page Number: 398
Explanation and Analysis:

Alberto tells Sophie about a thought experiment designed by the famous political philosopher John Rawls. Rawls argued that the only truly “equitable” society would be one in which the planners would be randomly assigned a place in the society they just invented (so that the creators/leaders of the society couldn't give themselves preferential treatment to others). Such a scenario is, of course, hard to enact in real life. Sophie and Alberto’s discussion ties in with Alberto’s lessons on Karl Marx, the political philosopher who argued that society is always designed to help the powerful and the wealthy maintain their control of the “means of production” (i.e., the tools and resources that produce goods and allow the wealthy to stay wealthy).

Alberto’s rhetorical question to Sophie (“But do you by any chance …”) raises another interesting point—perhaps one of the goals of philosophy should be to make society more equitable. Up to now, philosophy has generally seemed abstract, loose, and metaphysical—with Marx, philosophy becomes a concrete, economic subject, aiming to change the world instead of simply describing it.

Chapter 31 Quotes

“Our actions are not always guided by reason. Man is not really such a rational creature as the eighteenth-century rationalists liked to think. Irrational impulses often determine what we think, what we dream, and what we do. Such irrational impulses can be an expression of basic drives or needs. The human sexual drive, for example, is just as basic as the baby’s instinct to suckle.”

Related Characters: Alberto Knox (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Karl Marx , Sigmund Freud
Page Number: 426
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Alberto marks a turning point in his lessons for Sophie. For many chapters now, the philosophers he’s chosen to discuss have been rational and logical—they’ve trusted that reason coulb be used to solve almost any problem. After this chapter, however, Alberto turns to modern thinkers like Freud and Nietzsche—figures who don’t have the Enlightenment era’s faith in logic. As Alberto explains, Freud believed that the human mind was controlled by irrational impulses more than rational thoughts—urges like sex, hunger, and violence are far more important than reason in determining what a human being does. This complicates things, and means that the realm of philosophy blends more with other studies like psychology and economics.

Chapter 33 Quotes

“They have vanished into thin air,” said Helene Amundsen, not without a touch of pride.
She drew herself up to her full height, walked toward the long table and began to clear up after the philosophical garden party.
“More coffee, anyone?”

Related Characters: Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen (speaker), Sophie Amundsen, Alberto Knox
Page Number: 478
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Sophie and Alberto—now fully aware that they’re just characters in someone else’s book—find a way to escape from their text: they simply “vanish into thin air.” The paradox is this: Alberto and Sophie seem to have “chosen” to escape their text, but in fact, their author (Albert Knag) has just written them out of the text—in short, they’re just as obedient to Knag’s will as ever.

At the same time, the passage marks a turning point in the novel: after this point, Sophie and Alberto will continue their adventures, though it's not clear who, if anyone, is writing their story (besides the book's real author, Jostein Gaarder). In a sense, Sophie and Alberto have "escaped" Knag, but they're just as obedient as ever to Gaarder, the author of Sophie's World.

Chapter 35 Quotes

They jumped out of the car and ran down the garden.
They tried to loosen the rope that was made fast in a metal ring. But they could not even lift one end.
“It’s as good as nailed down,” said Alberto.
“We’ve got plenty of time.”
“A true philosopher must never give up. If we could just... get it loose …”

Related Characters: Sophie Amundsen (speaker), Alberto Knox (speaker), Hilde Møller Knag , Albert Knag / The Major
Page Number: 506
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of Sophie's World, Sophie and Alberto—fictional characters who've somehow attained a degree of independence from their creator—find themselves in a strange world. Everything around them, including people, is frozen. In spite of the hopelessness of their situation, Sophie and Alberto try to move a metal ring, which is attached to a boat near to where Hilde and Albert are sitting. Sophie is persistent in her attempts to the move the ring—in spite of the unlikelihood of moving the ring, she keeps trying, confident that philosophers never give up.

In all, the novel ends on a note of cautious optimism. Sophie seems to have no chance of moving the ring, but her intellectual training gives her hope and confidence. Gaarder suggests that philosophy, in addition to being an important area of study, can also be something like a religion for its students: it can provide people with hope and confidence in their own abilities. As the novel began, Sophie was a timid, shy young girl—now, with philosophy as her weapon, she's brave and determined.

Get the entire Sophie’s World LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Sophie Amundsen Character Timeline in Sophie’s World

The timeline below shows where the character Sophie Amundsen appears in Sophie’s World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Garden of Eden
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It’s early May in Norway, and a young woman named Sophie Amundsen walks home from school. She was walking with her friend Joanna, but Joanna’s house... (full context)
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Sophie’s letter has a strange effect on her. She remembers that her Mom and Dad had... (full context)
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Sophie goes outside, where she finds her cat, Sherekhan. She can’t stop thinking about the letter.... (full context)
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Sophie walks inside, and notices another letter waiting for her: this letter says, “Where does the... (full context)
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The narrator describes Sophie’s house—it’s red, with a garden outside. There’s a small gazebo outside, whichSophie’s grandfather built for... (full context)
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Alone in the hedge, Sophie returns to the two questions in the letters. Sophie imagines that the world is a... (full context)
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Sophie returns to the mailbox and finds a third postcard. The letter has a Norwegian stamp... (full context)
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Sophie tries to make sense of what’s happened to her that day. She’s received three mysterious... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Top Hat
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Sophie doesn’t tell anyone about the postcards she receives. As she proceeds with school, she begins... (full context)
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One day after school, Joanna asks Sophie to come home to play cards. Sophie tells Joanna she’s no longer interested in cards,... (full context)
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Sophie returns to her home and checks the mailbox. Inside, she’s surprised to find a big... (full context)
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Sophie’s letter goes on to identify several major questions that philosophy tries to answer. These include:... (full context)
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Sophie tries to make sense of her letter. It was probably written by someone other than... (full context)
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Sophie’s newest letter begins by explaining that Sophie’s philosophy lessons will come in small portions. The... (full context)
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The letter asks Sophie to perform a thought experiment: imagine that a family of three (a mother, a father,... (full context)
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Sophie is fascinated by the letter. When her Mom gets home, Sophie asks her if she... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Myths
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The next morning, there’s no letter waiting for Sophie. Sophie is bored all day. In school, she makes sure that she’s especially nice to... (full context)
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Sophie takes a break and tries to make sense of what she’s read so far. She’s... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Natural Philosophers
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In the afternoon, Mom comes home from work and tells Sophie that another letter has arrived. Mom assumes that Sophie’s gotten a love letter from someone... (full context)
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In her room, Sophie opens the envelope. Inside, she finds a small card with three questions on it: “Is... (full context)
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When Sophie gets home from school, she finds a large envelope waiting for her. Inside, she finds... (full context)
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The letter ends. Sophie is confused, and has to read through the letter a few times before she’s fully... (full context)
Chapter 5: Democritus
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Sophie goes downstairs and finds a white envelope waiting in the mailbox. She’s getting the hang... (full context)
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The next day, Sophie finds a letter waiting for her. The letter is titled, “THE ATOM THEORY.” It begins... (full context)
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Sophie finds some of Democritus ideas silly, but she’s interested to learn that he distrusted the... (full context)
Chapter 6: Fate
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Sophie opens her front door and is surprised to find a small envelope. Her “mystery man”... (full context)
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Sophie finds a series of cryptic questions inside her letter: “Do you believe in Fate?”; “Is... (full context)
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Talk of free will gives Sophie an idea, and she writes a letter to her mystery man. In the letter, she... (full context)
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Late at night, Sophie watches her mailbox from her window. She sees a man creep to the mailbox, deposit... (full context)
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The letter begins by warning Sophie never to “check up” on the mystery man. The man assures Sophie that “one day... (full context)
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Sophie wakes up early Saturday morning. She’s fallen asleep reading her letter. Under her bed, she’s... (full context)
Chapter 7: Socrates
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Later in the day, Sophie finds a small letter waiting for her, next to the stack of letters she’s received... (full context)
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Sophie thinks about her letter. She’s glad to know the name of the man who’s been... (full context)
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The next day, a Labrador arrives outside Sophie’s house, carrying an envelope in its mouth. This, Sophie realizes, is Alberto’s messenger. Sophie opens... (full context)
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The letter begins by introducing Sophie to Hermes, the Labrador. Then, the letter dives into a history of Athens—the center of... (full context)
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Sophie finishes the letter. She mentions Socrates to her Mom, and her Mom is impressed. Sophie... (full context)
Chapter 8: Athens
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In the evening, Sophie finds a thick package in the den. Inside, there’s a videotape. She plays the tape... (full context)
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...Athens. The stone ruins have been replaced by glorious, brightly colored buildings. Alberto explains that Sophie is looking at Athens as it once was. Alberto strolls through the streets and greets... (full context)
Chapter 9: Plato
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Sophie wakes up early the next morning and immediately remembers the video she watched yesterday. The... (full context)
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Sophie wonders what Plato meant when he asked if horses could be identical. She wonders if... (full context)
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Outside, Sophie hears a dog panting. She finds Hermes, bearing an envelope. Sophie takes the envelope, then... (full context)
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Sophie proceeds with the letter, titled, “PLATO’S ACADEMY.” Plato, the letter explains, published Socrates’ ideas after... (full context)
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Sophie isn’t sure if she agrees with Plato about the world of ideas. Even so, it’s... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Major’s Cabin
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Sophie walks down the path away from her home. She notices a small lake that she’s... (full context)
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Sophie explores the cabin. She finds hair on the floor that matches the color of Hermes’... (full context)
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Rushing away from the cabin, Sophie opens the envelope, and finds a set of questions, including, “What came first, the chicken... (full context)
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Sophie returns to her house, where she’s surprised to find Mom standing outside. Mom has been... (full context)
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Sophie writes Alberto a letter in which she admits that it was she who visited the... (full context)
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Having finished her letter, Sophie begins thinking about the questions in the last letter she received. She’s unsure how to... (full context)
Chapter 11: Aristotle
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Sophie’s Mom asks Sophie about her upcoming 15th birthday party. Sophie seems indifferent to the prospect... (full context)
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Sophie begins to read Alberto’s main letter, “PHILOSOPHER AND SCIENTIST.” Aristotle, the letter begins, was a... (full context)
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Sophie’s reading of the letter influences her greatly. She decides to be neat and orderly in... (full context)
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Back in her room, Sophie begins putting together Alberto’s letters to form a single book on philosophy. She looks forward... (full context)
Chapter 12: Hellenism
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On Monday, Sophie notices a small postcard lying on the sidewalk outside her house. The postcard, stamped from... (full context)
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Sophie realizes that she’s late to meet Joanna at the supermarket. When she arrives, Joanna is... (full context)
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When Sophie gets home, she finds another letter waiting for her: “HELLENISM.” Albertowrites that he will describe... (full context)
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The letter ends, and Sophie tries to understand the feeling of mysticism. She closes her eyes, and feels that the... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Postcards
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It’s May 16, andSophie and Joanna have planned to go camping. Sophie hasn’t heard from Alberto in a few... (full context)
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Joanna and Sophie sneak into the cabin, where they find a pile of postcards. Sophie says she “knows”... (full context)
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...Hilde’s birthday yet. The letter mentions “our mutual friend” (whom the reader understands to be Sophie herself). In another letter, the father tells Hilde that he plans to return to her... (full context)
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Joanna and Sophie try to understand what’s going on. Joanna notices the large brass mirror that hangs in... (full context)
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Joanna and Sophie leave the cabin with the brass mirror and spend the rest of the day camping... (full context)
Chapter 14: Two Cultures
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In the letter, Alberto tells Sophie that he left Hilde’s father’s postcards in the cabin, assuming that Sophie would return there... (full context)
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...was full of contradictions—a strange mixing of the Judeo-Christian with the Greco-Roman. It’s important for Sophie to understand her heritage as a Westerner. With these words, the letter ends. Sophie is... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Middle Ages
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Another week passes before Sophie hears from Alberto again. On May 25, she hears a tapping at her window—there’s a... (full context)
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The phone rings, and Sophie answers it. Alberto Knox is on the phone—he greets Sophie by name. He tells Sophie... (full context)
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The next morning, Sophie goes to the churchyard, where she finds a figure dressed in monk’s clothes. The figure,... (full context)
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Sophie says that she needs to get going soon, but Alberto begs to tell her about... (full context)
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As Alberto falls silent, Sophie asks him about Hilde. Alberto replies, “We don’t know whether there is a ‘Hilde’ at... (full context)
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Before Sophie leaves, Alberto tells her something more about the relationship between Aristotle and Aquinas. Aquinas tried... (full context)
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Sophie asks Alberto if there were any female philosophers in the Middle Ages. Alberto mentions one,... (full context)
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Before Sophie leaves, she asks Alberto if there was anyone named Alberto during the Middle Ages. Alberto... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Renaissance
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Sophie returns to Joanna’s house. Joanna tells Sophie that Sophie’s Mom has called several times, asking... (full context)
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Back in her room, Sophie stares at the brass mirror and sees another girl’s face. The girl winks with both... (full context)
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Sophiegoes to sleep and has a strange dream in which a young girl runs toward a... (full context)
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Hermes leads Sophie to the town square, which is lined with houses. Outside house No. 14, Hermes barks... (full context)
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Hermes leads Sophie into the house. Sophie climbs up many flights of stairs, until she’s in the attic.... (full context)
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Alberto directs Sophie’s attention to the attic, which is full of beautiful old books. He explains that he’s... (full context)
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Alberto next begins to tell Sophie about the Renaissance, the period of European history following the Middle Ages. Renaissance means “rebirth,”... (full context)
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Alberto tells Sophie more about Galileo, one of the key figures of the Renaissance. Galileo was an empiricist,... (full context)
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Alberto goes on to tell Sophie about the history of religion during the Renaissance. During this time, figures like Martin Luther... (full context)
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Sophie realizes that it’s already4 o’clock—her mother must be missing her. Alberto nods and says goodbye... (full context)
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Sophie leaves Alberto and begins heading home. Because she has no money, she’ll have to walk... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Baroque
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Sophie doesn’t hear from Alberto for a few more days. To explain her absences to Mom,... (full context)
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As Sophie cries, Mom asks her what’s wrong. Mom declares that Sophie must have a boyfriend, and... (full context)
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Later in the evening, Sophie’s Mom enters her room. Sophie, who’s been crying, tells her mother that she wants a... (full context)
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On May 31, Sophie receives an essay she turned in a few days before, on man’s relationship with technology.... (full context)
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After school, Sophie shows Joannathe postcard. Joanna doesn’t know what to make of it. She’s excited to hear... (full context)
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As she walks home, Sophie crosses paths with Hermes, who guides her back to Alberto’s attic. Outside building No. 14,... (full context)
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Inside, Sophie greets Alberto and asks him about the letter. Alberto calls Hilde’s father a shallow, shabby... (full context)
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...two greatest philosophers of the Baroque era were Descartes and Spinoza. Alberto prepares to tell Sophie about Descartes. (full context)
Chapter 18: Descartes
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Alberto begins telling Sophie about Descartes. Descartes was born in 1596, and quickly became interested in the nature of... (full context)
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Sophie is particularly struck when Alberto tells her that Descartes compared the human body to a... (full context)
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Alberto tells Sophie to sit in front of a computer in the attic. When Sophie does so, a... (full context)
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Just as Sophie is about to step away from the computer, she decides to search, “Knag.” The computer... (full context)
Chapter 19: Spinoza
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Still sitting in the room with Alberto, Sophie asks him to tell her more about the Baroque era. Alberto begins to tell Sophie... (full context)
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...times. The same is true of reason and substance—they’re just two different versions of God. Sophie finds this confusing, but thinks she’s beginning to understand.She compliments Albertofor his knowledge of philosophy.... (full context)
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Alberto offers Sophie a banana, and Sophie, who’s hungry, accepts it. She’s surprised to see a message written... (full context)
Chapter 20: Locke
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Sophie gets back to her house and tells Mom that she’s been visiting Alberto. Mom tells... (full context)
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Two weeks go by. Sophie goes to Alberto’s apartment across town. Outside, she finds another note wishing Hilde a happy... (full context)
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We cut ahead to June 14. Hermes shows up at Sophie’s house and leads her toward Alberto’s apartment once again. Suddenly, Sophie hears a voice, wishing... (full context)
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Inside, Sophie finds Alberto. Sophie explains some of the odd events that have happened to her lately,... (full context)
Chapter 21: Hume
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...discuss David Hume (1711-1766), another important empiricist. Hume wrote a great deal about human nature. Sophie finds this tiresome—she points out that all the philosophers she’s been reading about are men—perhaps... (full context)
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Alberto explains Hume’s notion of ego to Sophie. The ego is the self, the “I,” with which we experience the world. Hume’s analysis... (full context)
Chapter 22: Berkeley
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Alberto and Sophie are still in Alberto’s apartment. They stare out the window and see an airplane pulling... (full context)
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Alberto moves on to discuss George Berkeley with Sophie. Berkeley was an Irish bishop and philosopher. He was an empiricist, and concluded that we... (full context)
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Suddenly, Sophie begins to feel odd. She thinks of all the strange things that have been happening... (full context)
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Albertothen tells Sophie “Happy birthday, Hilde!” and suddenly it starts to storm outside. Sophie leaves Alberto and returns... (full context)
Chapter 23: Bjerkeley
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...Albert. Inside, she finds an ordinary three-ring binder. Inside the binder, there’s a book, titled Sophie’s World. The first chapter of the book is called “The Garden of Eden.” Hilde begins... (full context)
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...surprised to find that she herself is a character in the book. The main character, Sophie, keeps receiving letters addressed to Hilde. Hilde realizes that the letters from her father, as... (full context)
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...is grateful for the bracelet, but quickly resumes reading. She reads the section in which Sophie visits the Acropolis with Alberto. Hilde recalls that her father, during his time with the... (full context)
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Alone in her room once again, Hilde reads about Sophie’s encounters with the two portraits in the major’s cabin—Berkeley and Bjerkely. Hilde looks up Berkeley... (full context)
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...continues with her reading. As she reads, she comes across postcards from her father. Although Sophie, the character, experiences these postcards over a period of weeks, Hilde reads them all in... (full context)
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...of Bingen, she’s very interested (and appalled that she can’t find Hildegard in the encyclopedia). Sophie’s idea about “revealing herself” to Hilde, Hilde realizes, has a kind of truth—Sophie, a literary... (full context)
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Then Hildereads about Sophie’s dream—where Sophie sees Albert Knag returning to Hilde’s home, weeks in the future. Hilde knows... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Enlightenment
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After a short conversation with her mother,Hilde reads about Sophie’s discussions with Alberto in the church. She recognizes that her father is making a point... (full context)
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Hilde continues reading. In the text, it’s Sophie’s birthday, June 15th. Mom enters the room and wishes her daughter a happy birthday. Sophie... (full context)
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The phone rings in Sophie’s World, and Sophie picks it up. It’s Alberto, who explains to Sophie that he and... (full context)
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Alberto suggests something to Sophie—maybe there is a way for them to exercise free will after all. If they speed... (full context)
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Hilde finishes reading the chapter of Sophie’s World. She finds it odd that Sophie and Alberto are becoming “aware” of their fictional... (full context)
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Hilde continues reading. Sophie receives two cards from Lebanon, one addressed to her, one to Hilde. In the letter... (full context)
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Sophie and Alberto meet up in the major’s cabin, where Alberto dives into talking about the... (full context)
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...XVI’s monarchy, the French people established a government that respected the universal rights of man. Sophie is curious about the Enlightenment’s attitude toward women’s rights. Alberto explains that Enlightenment philosophers were... (full context)
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Sophie directs Alberto’s attention to the pictures of Berkeley and Bjerkely. She suggests that Hilde “lives”... (full context)
Chapter 25: Kant
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...his present. She tells him she’s delighted with it—she’s read up to the part where Sophie and Alberto reach the major’s cabin. Hilde tells her father she’s learned more in only... (full context)
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Hilde falls asleep reading from her book. In the book, Sophie talks with Alberto in the attic. Alberto moves on to tell Sophie about the life... (full context)
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...a solely abstract concept, nor is it strictly material. To illustrate Kant’s point, Alberto gives Sophie a pair of colored glasses. The glasses let Sophie see the world, but also “color”... (full context)
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...to approach God, Kant claimed, was with faith, as neither reason nor experience could “prove” God.Sophie compares Kant to Descartes—they both “smuggled God in by the back door.” (full context)
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There is a knock at the door. Sophie finds Little Red Riding Hood standing outside—she claims to be looking for her grandmother’s house.... (full context)
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...own appetites. A free human being is one who obeys his sense of right and wrong.Sophie finds this difficult to grasp, but Alberto insists, “A mere bagatelle.” (full context)
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It’s almost time for Sophie to leave. Before Sophie leaves, Alberto has an idea. If Kant is correct, Sophie and... (full context)
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Sophie leaves Alberto and walks through the forest. While she’s there, she notices a figure—Winnie the... (full context)
Chapter 26: Romanticism
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In the book, Sophie walks along the hedge by her house. She meets up with Joanna, and together they... (full context)
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Next Tuesday, Sophie gets a call from Alberto Knox, who explains that he’s received her invitation—he doesn’t say... (full context)
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Alberto and Sophie meet up in the major’s cabin that afternoon. Alberto explains that he’s going to tell... (full context)
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...key English Romantic poets. Another was Novalis, who fell in love with a young girl namedSophie,who died 4 days after her 15th birthday.Sophie finds this disturbing, since Sophie herself is now... (full context)
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Alberto moves on with his history of Romanticism, and Sophie listens eagerly—she’svery interested in Romanticism. The Romanticphilosopher Schelling (1775-1854) believed in the fundamental unity of... (full context)
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...play Peer Gynt, a character says, “One cannot die in the middle of Act Five.” Sophie finds this fascinating—the character in the play is essentially admitting that he’s just a fictional... (full context)
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A young boy carrying an oil lamp runs up to Alberto and Sophie, claiming that his name is Aladdin, from Lebanon. Aladdin rubs his lamp, and a spirit... (full context)
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Sophie tells Alberto that she’s had enough of being controlled by the major—she’s going to run... (full context)
Chapter 27: Hegel
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...room, having just read Chapter 26 of her book. She’s dizzied by what Alberto and Sophie have just said—even if Sophie is just the product of someone’s imagination, perhaps Hilde and... (full context)
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In the book, Alberto is teaching Sophie about Hegel. Hegel, born in 1770, criticized much of Romanticism for its lack of precision.... (full context)
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Hegel believed that philosophy is the “mirror of the world spirit.” Sophie finds this interesting, since it reminds her of the brass mirror in her room. She... (full context)
Chapter 28: Kierkegaard
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Hilde looks at her clock—it’s 4 o’clock. She’s been greatly moved by her reading, and Sophie has inspired her to play tricks on her father. Hilde feels as if she, Sophie,... (full context)
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Hilde continues reading. In her book, Sophie and Alberto hear a knock at the door. Sophie opens the door and finds Alice... (full context)
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Next, Sophie drinks the second potion. This time, she has a sense that she is a unique... (full context)
Chapter 29: Marx
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Hilde finishes reading the chapter on Kierkegaard. Inspired by Sophie and Alberto, she decides to give her father a “scare” when he returns from Lebanon.... (full context)
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Later on in the day, Hilde continues reading. In the book, Sophiereturns to her house, where she finds Mom waiting for her, irate that Sophie has slipped... (full context)
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Two days before Midsummer Eve (June 21), Alberto calls Sophie. Alberto tells Sophie that he’s finally found “a way out.” Since Alberto and Sophie are... (full context)
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On the way to the cabin, Sophie crosses paths with Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s arguing with a little match girl. The match girl... (full context)
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Sophie proceeds to the cabin, where she finds Alberto waiting for her. She explains her encounter... (full context)
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Marx’s critique of capitalism was complicated, but Alberto tries to summarize it for Sophie. In a typical capitalist society, the proletariat produced commodities—goods, to be sold on the market... (full context)
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Alberto concludes his lesson on Marx by telling Sophie about a thought experiment that was designed by the 20th century political philosopher John Rawls.... (full context)
Chapter 30: Darwin
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In the book, Sophie and Alberto are in the cabin, talking with an old, bearded man who introduces himself... (full context)
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Sophiethen notices something outside the cabin—Adam and Eve. Alberto explains that, due to Darwin’s findings, Adam... (full context)
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Sophie asks Alberto why children are biologically different than their parents. Alberto acknowledges that Sophie has... (full context)
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Sophie asks another question—where did the first life come from? Alberto admits that Darwin didn’t really... (full context)
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...of them confined to the oceans. Eventually, animals that could survive on the land evolved. Sophie finds this interesting, because the process of evolution was “random,” in the sense that there... (full context)
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Sophie suddenly begins to quote a passage from Goethe’s Faust, in which a character complains that... (full context)
Chapter 31: Freud
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...and surprised by the implications of Darwinism. Furthermore, she finds it hard to believe that Sophie and Albertoare just figments of her father’s imagination. One could also say that she, Hilde,... (full context)
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In the evening, Hilde begins reading again. In the book, Sophie and Alberto are standing outside the major’s cabin, talking to a naked man—the Emperor. The... (full context)
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...gives an example: a man dreams that he receives two balloons from his female cousin. Sophie wonders if the dream might be a form of wish-fulfillment, in which the man gives... (full context)
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Sophie notices something outside the cabin—a group of Disney figures, such as Mickey Mouse and Donald... (full context)
Chapter 32: Our Own Time
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...had, in which her father returned from Lebanon. In the dream, Hilde crosses paths with Sophie, who’s carrying Hilde’sgold crucifix. At the end of her dream, Hilde embraces her father. (full context)
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...Hilde she’ll be home around 4 pm. When Hilde is alone again, she resumes reading Sophie’s World. In the book, Sophie has left the major’s cabin. She tries to “hold the... (full context)
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Morten, undeterred, tells Sophie that an old woman was planning to write a book about Nils’s adventures. Morten claims... (full context)
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Sophie is back in her home. She and Mom prepare for Sophie’s garden party the next... (full context)
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At the Café Pierre, Sophie waits for Alberto. She feels like a real adult—older than her years. The people in... (full context)
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...key Existentialists was Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). His life-long friend and companion was Simone de Beauvoir. Sophie is glad to hear that Alberto is finally talking about a female philosopher. Sartre started... (full context)
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...thinks that humanity is like a troupe of actors without a script or stage directions. Sophie thinks she understands what Alberto means. (full context)
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...police officers all around him. Albertothen admits that he was late for his meeting with Sophie on purpose, because hewanted Sophie to look around the crowd in the café. (full context)
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...and women are illusions—there is no “women’s nature,” just as there is no human nature. Sophie is attracted to this idea. (full context)
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Alberto buys a Coke for Sophie and a coffee for himself. When he’s purchased both items, he tells Sophie, “That brings... (full context)
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Alberto and Sophie walk down the street. As they walk by a store, Sophie sees something on TV—footage... (full context)
Chapter 33: The Garden Party
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...proceeds with her reading, since there are only a few pages left. In the book, Sophieand her Mom prepare for the garden party. Mom asks Sophie about the book she’s bought,... (full context)
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Sophie and her Mom—whose name, we learn, is Helene—see a group of demonstrators walking down the... (full context)
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...The guests arrive one by one, including Joanna (whose parents drive a white Mercedes) and Sophie’s classmates, Jeremy and David. Soon, the only guest who hasn’t arrived is Alberto.A short while... (full context)
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...on, with everyone eating and talking. Helene stands up and makes a speech. She congratulates Sophie on her birthday, and mentions that Sophie’s father is frequently far away, often in other... (full context)
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Alberto rises—he wants to make a speech as well. He tells the crowd that Sophie has been learning about philosophy for the last few weeks. Here, tonight, he and Sophie... (full context)
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Alberto turns to Sophie and says, “It’s time.” Helene asks Sophie if Sophie is planning on leaving. Sophie admits... (full context)
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...the girls pop balloons with a pin. Someone crashes the white Mercedes into a tree. Sophie remembers a time when the house was her Garden of Eden—now, Alberto reminds her, she’s... (full context)
Chapter 34: Counterpoint
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Hilde sits in bed—the story of Sophie and Alberto is over. But what has actually happened to them? Hilde wonders if it’s... (full context)
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We cut back toAlberto and Sophie, whotry to avoid the major by sneaking into the cabin.Meanwhile Hilde spends the next few... (full context)
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In an unidentified story,Alberto and Sophie arrive in Oslo. Alberto assures Sophie that they’re outside the major’s control now. Sophie asks... (full context)
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The chapter cuts back to Sophie and Alberto. They drive through the city in search of Albert. As they drive, Alberto... (full context)
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Alberto and Sophie drive out of the city, toward the town of Fiane. They stop at an eatery... (full context)
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We cut back to Sophie and Alberto. They drive to the town of Lillesand and try to figure out how... (full context)
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We cut to Sophie and Alberto. Sophie sees Hilde embracing her father, and feels deeply jealous—Hilde is a real... (full context)
Chapter 35: The Big Bang
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...then science will confirm the ancient Indian belief in the cyclical nature of the world. Sophie finds this possibility mysterious and exciting. As she talks to her father, she feels a... (full context)
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We cut back to Sophie and Alberto. They’re sitting in their car, still listening to Albert talk about the Big... (full context)
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Albert and Hilde talk about the ending of Sophie’s World, in which Alberto and Sophie run away from the garden party. Albert explains that... (full context)
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We cut back to Sophie and Alberto. Sophie tells Alberto that she wants to “try the rowboat” resting in the... (full context)
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...talk, Hilde notices that their rowboat has come loose of its moorings. She wonders if Sophie and Alberto might have caused this. Albert laughs at this idea, but Hilde insists that... (full context)