The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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The secretary of the Department of Oriental Studies at Occidental College, where the narrator works as a clerk. She is forty-six years old and was born in Gardena, California. She is a Nisei, or second-generation Japanese-American. She wears rhinestoned, horn-rimmed glasses and, initially, doesn’t seem to like the narrator. She is independent, feminist, and espouses free love. Soon, they begin a sexual relationship which Sofia insists will remain casual. Sofia is Japanese-American and dislikes the Department Chair because of his fetish for Asians and his condescending attitude. Despite their physical intimacy, the narrator retains an air of formality with her, usually addressing her as “Ms. Mori.” She and the narrator eventually stop seeing each other after he leaves for the Philippines to work on The Hamlet. At this time, Ms. Mori becomes romantically involved with Sonny.

Ms. Sofia Mori Quotes in The Sympathizer

The The Sympathizer quotes below are all either spoken by Ms. Sofia Mori or refer to Ms. Sofia Mori. 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:
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Sympathizer published in 2016.
Chapter 13 Quotes

After the war ended and he was freed, he thought he’d go back to his people, the way that he’d been told to all his life by white people, even though he was born here. So he went and found out that the people in Japan didn’t think he was one of them, either. To them he's one of us, and to us he's one of them. Neither one thing nor another.

Related Characters: Ms. Sofia Mori (speaker), The Narrator, Abe Mori , Son Do (“Sonny”)
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ms. Sofia Mori Character Timeline in The Sympathizer

The timeline below shows where the character Ms. Sofia Mori appears in The Sympathizer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...phones, type professorial manuscripts, file documents, and fetch books. He also helps the secretary, Ms. Sofia Mori. (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Initially, Sofia seems to dislike the narrator and is skeptical of him when he reports to the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...continues to work part-time for Reverend Ramon. Meanwhile, the narrator has his first date with Sofia at a tiki bar in Silver Lake. She smokes and drinks “like a movie starlet... (full context)
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
Under Sofia’s tutelage, the narrator learns that “true revolution also [involves] sexual liberation.” The only thing that... (full context)
Chapter 7
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...Orange County, he’s eager to go and take his mind off of things. He takes Sofia Mori as his guest. The bride’s father is a legendary marine colonel who fought off... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...table’s centerpiece. To distract himself, he drinks and explains the customs of his people to Sofia. He then takes her to the dance floor. From there, he sees Lana, who is... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...rotates her hips, riveting the attention of the men in the crowd. The narrator and Ms. Mori dance. When the song is over, the bank vice president takes the stage and introduces... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
The narrator turns around to find Sonny talking to Sofia. He writes down her quips and they talk about how impressed Asians are when a... (full context)
Chapter 9
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...that he has put the crapulent major’s death behind him. Before he left Los Angeles, Sofia cooked him a farewell dinner, and he began to think that he loves her. However,... (full context)
Chapter 12
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...Stolichnaya vodka. In the parking lot, he spots a pay phone and thinks of calling Sofia. Instead, he drives across Los Angeles to see her. He parks down the street from... (full context)
Chapter 13
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
The narrator isn’t surprised that Sonny and Sofia are now a couple. He was in the Philippines for seven months and never called.... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...the family being put in an internment camp then demanding that Abe fight for America. Sofia says that Abe left for Japan. He decided to go back to his people, just... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...speeches. The narrator asks if Sonny is still in California because he’s in love with Sofia or because he’s afraid. Sonny feels ashamed. Sofia looks at Sonny with understanding and looks... (full context)
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...he’s finally won an argument with Sonny, something he never did in their college days. Sofia looks into Sonny’s eyes and assures him that everything is all right. The narrator refills... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
Rumors have already spread about the General’s new army. During the narrator’s visit to Sofia’s place, Sonny mentions reports about the secret army. The narrator claims not to have heard... (full context)
Chapter 16
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...smoke. The narrator clutches the tote bag. Sonny thinks the narrator is there because of Sofia. The narrator notices, “on the wall above the table,” the same clock as in the... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
Sonny is sorry that he and the narrator have never had a proper talk about Sofia. The narrator claims fault for never having written to her. When Sonny gets up to... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...though he finds it hard to talk about anything else. This is why he loves Sofia; she can tolerate his obsession. He tells the narrator that they never planned anything; they... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
Sonny says that he knows that he probably won’t have a child with Sofia, but he wants to think of someone other than himself. Before, he only wanted to... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...General has sent the narrator. Sonny also thinks that the narrator is still jealous over Sofia. Though Sonny is only five feet away, the narrator hits the radio when he pulls... (full context)