Sophie’s World

Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen Character Analysis

Sophie Amundsen’s Mom is a pleasant but slightly dull woman, who shares none of her daughter’s interest in philosophy or reason. In a sense, Mom isn’t a character so much as a warning sign: this is what happens to people who don’t question their surroundings. Mom lives a simple, banal life, and seems not to derive much pleasure from her work or her home life. In all, Sophie cares about her mother, but ultimately moves past her narrow-mindedness to enter the world of philosophy.

Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen Quotes in Sophie’s World

The Sophie’s World quotes below are all either spoken by Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen or refer to Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of Sophie’s World published in 2007.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“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:

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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:

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Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene Amundsen Character Timeline in Sophie’s World

The timeline below shows where the character Mom / Sophie’s mother / Helene 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
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Sophie’s letter has a strange effect on her. She remembers that her Mom and Dad had wanted to give her a different name—Lillemor, maybe. Sophie stares in the... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Top Hat
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Sophie is fascinated by the letter. When her Mom gets home, Sophie asks her if she thinks it’s an amazing thing to be alive.... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Natural Philosophers
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
In the afternoon, Mom comes home from work and tells Sophie that another letter has arrived. Mom assumes that... (full context)
Chapter 6: Fate
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
...have coffee with her in her home. She places the letter in the mailbox. When Mom gets home, she teases Sophie about being so interested in the mailbox, and suggests once... (full context)
Chapter 7: Socrates
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Sophie finishes the letter. She mentions Socrates to her Mom, and her Mom is impressed. Sophie casually explains the difference between sophists and philosophers—sophists are... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Major’s Cabin
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Sophie returns to her house, where she’s surprised to find Mom standing outside. Mom has been frantic—she was going to call Joanna to find Sophie. Sophie... (full context)
Chapter 11: Aristotle
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Sophie’s Mom asks Sophie about her upcoming 15th birthday party. Sophie seems indifferent to the prospect of... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
...her pet fish, telling them, “You belong to the animal kingdom.” She sneaks into her Mom’s room, where she finds her mother sleeping. She whispers to her mother, “You have the... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Postcards
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
...in a few days. Sophie and Joanna walk into the woods outside their town, with Sophie’sMom’s permission. Out in the woods, Sophie takes Joanna to the lake. She doesn’t tell Joanna... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...the rest of the day camping in the forest. When Sophie gets home, she shows Mom the mirror. She also watches TV and sees news about Norwegian forces stationed in Lebanon.... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Middle Ages
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
...sleep at Joanna’s house so that she can sneak to the church without worrying her Mom. She explains to Joanna that she’ll be waking up early to go out, but doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Renaissance
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Sophie returns to Joanna’s house. Joanna tells Sophie that Sophie’s Mom has called several times, asking for Sophie’s whereabouts. Sophie convinces Joanna not to tell anyone... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
...father (in the dream) looked a lot like Alberto Knox. She goes downstairs and greets Mom. Mom tells Sophie that a strange dog is outside, near the hedge. Sophie, knowing that... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Baroque
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Sophie doesn’t hear from Alberto for a few more days. To explain her absences to Mom, she lies and says that Hermes belongs to her old science teacher, with whom she... (full context)
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
As Sophie cries, Mom asks her what’s wrong. Mom declares that Sophie must have a boyfriend, and in return... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Later in the evening, Sophie’s Mom enters her room. Sophie, who’s been crying, tells her mother that she wants a birthday... (full context)
Chapter 20: Locke
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Sophie gets back to her house and tells Mom that she’s been visiting Alberto. Mom tells Sophie she checked the phonebook and couldn’t find... (full context)
Chapter 22: Berkeley
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...storm outside. Sophie leaves Alberto and returns to her home, running through the downpour. Sophie’s Momputs her arm around her and asks her if she’s all right, and Sophie replies, “It’s... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Enlightenment
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
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 is still rattled by... (full context)
Chapter 29: Marx
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...the day, Hilde continues reading. In the book, Sophiereturns to her house, where she finds Mom waiting for her, irate that Sophie has slipped away without leaving a note. Mom tells... (full context)
Chapter 32: Our Own Time
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Sophie is back in her home. She and Mom prepare for Sophie’s garden party the next day. Mom asks Sophie if Alberto is planning... (full context)
Chapter 33: The Garden Party
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...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, a book... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Sophie and her Mom—whose name, we learn, is Helene—see a group of demonstrators walking down the street. The demonstrators... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
The party goes on, with everyone eating and talking. Helene stands up and makes a speech. She congratulates Sophie on her birthday, and mentions that... (full context)
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Alberto turns to Sophie and says, “It’s time.” Helene asks Sophie if Sophie is planning on leaving. Sophie admits that she is. Helene says... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...places his hand on Sophie’s shoulder and shouts, “Now!” With this, Alberto and Sophie disappear. Helene proudly says, “They have vanished into thin air,” and offers her guests coffee. (full context)