Going Places

by

A.R. Barton

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Sophie Character Analysis

Sophie is the story’s teenaged protagonist who, despite her dismal working-class life, spends much of her time fantasizing about a glamorous and wealthy future. She dreams of being a shop-owner and actress, or maybe a fashion designer, despite how unlikely those careers are, since she has no money and is expected to one day work at the local biscuit factory to help make ends meet. While Sophie is vocal and exuberant about her dreams, her family members and her friend Jansie actively discourage her, seeming offended by Sophie’s audacity and whimsy. Sophie appears adrift in her home, alienated from all her family members except, perhaps, her older brother Geoff, whom she sees as a potential ally, somebody who might have an interesting life into which he could invite her, thereby helping her escape their reality. To impress Geoff and the rest of her family, Sophie concocts an elaborate fantasy that she met Geoff’s favorite football player, Danny Casey, who also wants to open a boutique. She claims that Danny Casey asked her on a date, and on the night she said they were to meet, she goes to wait for Danny Casey on a bench, seeming to believe he might actually appear. As she realizes that Danny Casey isn’t coming, her heart is broken—not because she feels romantically jilted, or because she even wanted to meet Danny Casey, but because she knows she will have to confess to her family that he didn’t come, and they will have one more reason to dismiss her. As she walks back to her dismal life, Sophie fantasizes about Danny Casey scoring a goal in front of a roaring crowd—but in the fantasy, Danny Casey seems like Sophie (he is “no taller” and “no bolder” than Sophie). All along, it seems, Sophie’s fantasy of Danny Casey was really a fantasy of her own success.

Sophie Quotes in Going Places

The Going Places quotes below are all either spoken by Sophie or refer to Sophie. 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:
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of Going Places published in 2014.
Going Places Quotes

“I’ll be like Mary Quant,” Sophie said. “I’ll be a natural. They’ll see it from the start. I’ll have the most amazing shop this city’s ever seen.’

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Jansie
Related Symbols: The Boutique
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

Their mother sighed.

Sophie watched her back stooped over the sink and wondered at the incongruity of the delicate bow which fastened her apron strings. The delicate-seeming bow and the crooked back. The evening had already blacked in the windows and the small room was steamy from the stove and cluttered with the heavy-breathing man in his vest at the table and the dirty washing piled up in the corner. Sophie felt a tightening in her throat.

Related Characters: Sophie, Sophie’s Father, Mother
Related Symbols: The Bow
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

She was conscious of a vast world out there waiting for her and she knew instinctively that she would feel as at home there as in the city which had always been her home. It expectantly awaited her arrival. She saw herself riding there behind Geoff. He wore new, shining black leathers and she a yellow dress with a kind of cape that flew out behind.

Related Characters: Sophie, Geoff
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

Her father grimaced. “Where’d you hear that?”…He muttered something inaudible and dragged himself round in his chair. “This another of your wild stories?”… “One of these days you’re going to talk yourself into a load of trouble,” her father said aggressively.

Related Characters: Sophie’s Father (speaker), Sophie
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

There was a wooden bench beneath a solitary elm where lovers sometimes came. She sat down to wait. It was the perfect place, she had always thought so, for a meeting of this kind. For those who wished not to be observed. She knew he would approve.

Related Characters: Sophie, Geoff, Sophie’s Father, Danny Casey
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

I remember Geoff saying he would never come, and how none of them believed me when I told them. I wonder what will I do, what can I tell them now if he doesn’t come? But we know how it was, Danny and me — that’s the main thing. How can you help what people choose to believe? But all the same, it makes me despondent, this knowing I’ll never be able to show them they’re wrong to doubt me.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Geoff, Danny Casey
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

“Excuse me, but aren’t you Danny Casey?”

Coming through the arcade she pictured him again outside Royce’s.

He turns, reddening slightly. “Yes, that’s right.”

“I watch you every week, with my dad and my brothers. We think you’re great.”

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Danny Casey (speaker), Geoff
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

No taller than you. No bolder than you. The prodigy. The innocent genius. The great Danny Casey.

And she saw it all again, last Saturday — saw him ghost past the lumbering defenders, heard the fifty thousand catch their breath as he hovered momentarily over the ball, and then the explosion of sound as he struck it crisply into the goal, the sudden thunderous eruption of exultant approbation.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Danny Casey
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Going Places LitChart as a printable PDF.
Going Places PDF

Sophie Character Timeline in Going Places

The timeline below shows where the character Sophie appears in Going Places. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Going Places
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Class vs. Ambition Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
On their way home from school, Sophie informs her friend Jansie that one day she will own a boutique. Skeptical, Jansie tells... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Class vs. Ambition Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
Jansie, who knows that both she and Sophie are destined to work at the biscuit factory, feels sad when Sophie talks like this,... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Class vs. Ambition Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
Walking into her home, Sophie announces that if she ever comes into money, she will buy a boutique. Her father... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he travels to the “far side of town” for work, and—since he is “almost grown up”—Sophie suspects that there are parts of his life he doesn’t tell her about. In fact,... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sophie also imagines that Geoff is secretly friends with “exotic, interesting people,” although she concedes that... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
As Geoff works on the motorcycle, Sophie says “I met Danny Casey.” Geoff does not believe her, and then he asks if... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
In the living room, Geoff tells their father about Sophie meeting Danny Casey. Their father turns his “thick neck” to look at Sophie with “disdain.”... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
In Geoff’s bedroom, which is full of posters of Danny Casey, Sophie swears Geoff to secrecy about something, saying that their dad would “murder” her. Geoff protests... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
“You do believe me now, don’t you?” Sophie asks Geoff. She watches him put on a “shiny and shapeless” jacket and wishes to... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
On Saturday, Sophie’s whole family attends a football match, and their team wins with Danny Casey scoring the... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
The following week, Jansie asks Sophie about meeting Danny Casey, and Sophie is “startled” and dismayed. This is a “Geoff thing,... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
After dark, Sophie walks by the canal to “a wooden bench beneath a solitary elm where lovers sometimes... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Sophie wishes fervently that Danny Casey would come, but she feels “pangs of doubt.” She remembers... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Sophie is sad, which is a “hard burden to carry.” She sits waiting and “knowing he... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Walking home, Sophie climbs “crumbling steps” and notices her dad’s bike propped against a wall by the pub.... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sophie pictures herself meeting Danny Casey at the shops again. She asks him for an autograph,... (full context)