Sophie’s World

The Binder / Sophie’s World Symbol Analysis

The Binder / Sophie’s World Symbol Icon

During the course of Sophie’s World, Hilde Møller Knag reads from a binder her father, Albert Knag, has sent her. In this binder, there’s a book called Sophie’s World, which corresponds pretty closely to the book we, the readers, are reading. By setting part of its action within a book, Sophie’s World—that is, the book we’re reading—brings up questions of what is and isn’t real, and whether a work of fiction can’t take on a kind of philosophical truth or reality that transcends its artificiality. In this way, the binder symbolizes the ambiguous nature of reality, the very thing that compels philosophers to use both reason and observation to understand the world.

The Binder / Sophie’s World Quotes in Sophie’s World

The Sophie’s World quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Binder / Sophie’s World. 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 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:

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The Binder / Sophie’s World Symbol Timeline in Sophie’s World

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Binder / Sophie’s World appears in Sophie’s World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23: Bjerkeley
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
...box on her table—perhaps a birthday present from 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... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...Hilde reads on, she’s 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... (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
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
...wishes Hilde a happy birthday. Hilde thanks her mother but then returns to reading her book. Hilde’s mother, a little offended, asks Hilde to open her gift—it’s a beautiful gold bracelet.... (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
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
...character, has revealed herself to Hilde, a real person. Hilde reaches the passage in her book in which Sophie stares in the brass mirror and sees a strange girl winking back... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Enlightenment
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
...and confesses that she just wants to go back and read the rest of the book her father wrote. Before Hilde returns to her room, she mentions that she’s missing her... (full context)
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
The phone rings in Sophie’s World , and Sophie picks it up. It’s Alberto, who explains to Sophie that he and... (full context)
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
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)
Chapter 25: Kant
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The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Hilde falls asleep reading from her book. In the book, Sophie talks with Alberto in the attic. Alberto moves on to tell... (full context)
Chapter 26: Romanticism
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
Hilde sits in her room, reading Sophie’s World . Her mother asks her to lend a hand with the family motorboat, but Hilde... (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
...is to try to talk to Hilde directly—and since Hilde reads every word of the book they’re in, this should be easy. Alberto complains that Hilde’s father is “acting the fool,”... (full context)
Chapter 27: Hegel
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Hilde sits in her 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... (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
...Anne and Ole, who are staying in Copenhagen, and begins to tell them about the book her father has sent her.She asks Anne and Ole to do her a favor (but... (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
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... (full context)
Chapter 30: Darwin
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Hilde wakes up early on Sunday to the sound of her binder falling on the floor. This reminds her of the John Rawls thought experiment, and she... (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
In the book, Sophie and Alberto are in the cabin, talking with an old, bearded man who introduces... (full context)
Chapter 31: Freud
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
Hilde looks up from her book—her mother has just called for her to come to breakfast.Instead of going to breakfast, Hilde... (full context)
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Education, Mentorship, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
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.... (full context)
Chapter 32: Our Own Time
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
...is planning to do to her father. She considers reading the final page of the book, but chooses not to—that would be cheating. (full context)
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...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 major’s attention,” as Alberto... (full context)
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...“Back soon, Hilde!” Alberto mutters, “Charlatan.”Alberto and Sophie keep walking, and eventually come to a bookstore. In the back, they find the “New Age” section, full of tarot cards, UFO photographs,... (full context)
Chapter 33: The Garden Party
Philosophy, Wisdom, and Wonder Theme Icon
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
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Free Will Theme Icon
...finished another chapter of Sophie’s World. She remembers how her father used to read the book The Adventures of Nils to her. Hilde also remembers buying a book on astrology last... (full context)
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Hilde 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... (full context)
Chapter 34: Counterpoint
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...“her plan.” She sends letters to her family friend Anne in Copenhagen. She also rereads Sophie’s World . (full context)
Chapter 35: The Big Bang
The Nature of Reality Theme Icon
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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)