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A review on Sophie's World
By Jostein Gaarder
[Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document. Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document.]
Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian intellectual and author of several short stories, novels and children's books. Gaarder often writes from the perspective of children, exploring their sense of wonder. Sophie's World, subtitled a novel about the history of philosophy, has become a runaway hit practically everywhere it has appeared. In the author's homeland, it has been on the best-seller lists for nearly four years.
The novel deals with the pursuit of philosophy as the means of ordering human experience. As the world of protagonist was imaginary so it makes her ask a lot of questions like why do we exist and from where does this world come from. This thing how to engage with philosophy was the very thing which made the very creatures different from others. Another thing which we find is the illusory nature of free Will that although being the characters of a story they manage to escape.
Sophie's world is a novel about the history of philosophy. It is a very good book for the new beginners. It deals with the whole western philosophy. The book proves to be a brilliant source for the new ones to clear their concepts and to enter into the vortex of philosophy and bring something out of it. The writing style of Gaarder was very simple in it just like most of his books. One finds the pages turning quickly. Author has presented the complex theories in the simplest way one can get and he explains it along with couple of examples.
Sophie's World is an outline of Western philosophy that is beautifully set in a fictional story. It goes from pre-Socratic philosophy all the way to Sartre. The protagonist faces a lot of strange things through letters as her experience begins with a letter from an unknown person who asks her two questions that who are you? And from where this world comes from? a philosopher named Alberto knox starts to teach her philosophy. His novel goes very fine for those who are new beginners in philosophy. He explains the importance of philosophers by using the example of top hat and a rabbit out of it, the people who are at the peak of hairs are philosophers, extraordinary from others. He encourages people to become philosophers and takes example of a child because he thinks freely without considering any boundary. We also should think freely and try to answer every question instead of considering it stupid. Gaarder also lets us know about the myths and natural philosophers who thought that nothing can come from nothing. Sophie is further taught about Democritus and his concept that why lego is the most ingenious toy. Sophie also comes to know about fate and that fortune teller is trying to see something that is unforeseeable.
Alberto tells Sophie about Socrates and the thing that we claim to know everything although we don't and Socrates kept on saying that the wisest is he who knows that he does not know and the response of people to the biggest thinker of that time was that he was given a mug of poison…! But it was inherited to Pluto and then to Aristotle who believed on shadows and the other on that everything is a combination of atoms, molecules and other such things. Sophie learns about these philosophers through a video and also follows hermes (the messenger of Alberto ) and reaches to the Majors cabin and finds a lot of post cards which were complicating the things by all of them reaching to her but in real belonged to Hilde Moller Knag whose father was a major and was soon coming home but why was he sending all postcards to her that seemed to be nonsense.
Sophie comes to know that she in real doesn't exist and both she and Alberto are characters of a story being written by Major to Hilde. The only way to survive was that the story keeps on going and the lectures on philosophy continue. are intended for another 14-year-old, Hilde Moller Knag, who by coincidence also has an absentee father, serving with the U.N. forces in Lebanon. Who is this Hilde? Why is her mail addressed to Sophie? And is it just coincidence that Hilde and Sophie have the same birthday? Suffice it to say that the answers involve a talking dog and a magic mirror, as well as the relation of illusion to reality, free will vs. predetermination and -- shades of Pirandello meanwhile, Sophie has to play detective on another front. From time to time she gets postcards that to escape their author's plot. Strange things are happening that the girls cannot figure out. Sophie's relationship with her mother becomes somewhat strained as she tries both to cover up the correspondence with Alberto and to practice her philosophical thinking on her mom. Meanwhile, Alberto teaches Sophie about Jesus and the meeting of Indo-European and Semitic culture. She learns about St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and the Christianisation of Greek philosophy that occurred in the Middle Ages. Sophie learns about the focus on humanity in the Renaissance and the extremes of the Baroque and then Alberto focuses on some key philosophers. Urgently, he teaches her about Descartes, who doubted, and by doing so knew at least that he could doubt. They move on to Spinoza as it becomes clear that Hilde's father has some awesome power over them. Then Sophie learns about the empiricists. Locke believed in natural rights and that everything we know is gained from experience. Hume, an important influence on Kant, showed that our actions are guided by feelings and warned against making laws based upon our experiences. But Berkeley is most important to Sophie because he suggested that perhaps our entire lives were inside the mind of God. And Alberto says that their lives are inside the mind of Albert Knag, Hilde's father .At this point the story switches to Hilde's point of view.
On June 15, the day she turns fifteen, Hilde receives a birthday gift from her father Sophies world. She begins to read and is enthralled. We follow the rest of Sophie's story from Hilde's perspective. Hilde becomes certain that Sophie exists, that she is not just a character in a book. Alberto has a plan to escape Albert Knag's mind, and they must finish the philosophy course before that can happen. He teaches Sophie about the Enlightenment and its humane values and about Kant and his unification of empiricist and rationalist thought. Things in Sophie's life have become completely insane but she and Alberto know they must figure out a way to do something. It will have to occur on the night of June 15, when Hilde's father returns home. They learn about the world spirit of Romanticism, Hegel's dialectical view of history, and Kierkegaard's belief that the individual's existence is primary. Meanwhile, Hilde plans a surprise for her father on his return home. They rush through Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Sartre, desperate to come up with a plan to escape even though everything they do is known by Hilde's father. Then at the end of Sophie's World, the book that Hilde is reading, while at a party for Sophie on June 15, Alberto and Sophie disappear. Hilde's father comes home and they talk about the book, and Hilde is sure that Sophie exists somewhere. Meanwhile, Sophie and Alberto have a new existence as spirit—they have escaped from Albert Knag's mind but they are invisible to other people and can walk right through them. Sophie wants to try to interfere in the world of Hilde and her father, and at the end of the book she is learning how to do so.
The Times Magazine in their review praised the success of book in these words … First, think of a beginner's guide to philosophy, written by a schoolteacher for teens and young adults. Next, imagine a fantasy novel -- something like a modern-day version of Through the Looking Glass. Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international best seller. Richard Gehr also seemed to be greatly impressed with the book and his feelings can be judged with these lines, It's tempting to get all warm and gloopy over this well-intentioned response by a Norwegian writer and former philosophy teacher to the New Age "pornography" he fears may replace the Western philosophical canon. Sophie's World has rapidly become an international literary phenom. A genre-crossing European best-seller (file under fiction, philosophy, and young adulthood) with nearly a million copies sold to date, Jostein Gaarder's novel, at 400 pages, is a concise, clearly written corrective to philosophic obscurantism.
I found this book very interesting. The lexicon was very simple. It was a good read for a new beginner to learn the basics regarding to philosophy. Gaarder takes us into the revolutions, theories and philosophies by his brilliant form of writing style. A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print but the only thing which I found odd was that it only dealt with the western philosophy and another thing was that the novel contained some extra details which made the things worse because too much explanation with examples was at some places making it distracted and vague to catch things, otherwise it is the very book due to which I am finding myself being attracted towards philosophy.
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