What is the main theme of Sophie's World?

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Several themes are identifiable in Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World, but the importance of inquiry is perhaps the most significant. In this work blending fiction with philosophy, a young girl named Sophie learns to ask questions in order to find out more about the world and her role in...

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Several themes are identifiable in Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World, but the importance of inquiry is perhaps the most significant. In this work blending fiction with philosophy, a young girl named Sophie learns to ask questions in order to find out more about the world and her role in it. From the early pages of the book, when Sophie receives enigmatic letters containing questions, to her later existential musings about her own existence, the theme of inquiry persists.

As the theme of a work of literature is often defined as the lesson a reader might learn from the work, the main theme of Sophie's World concerns the importance of asking questions: this is more important than receiving answers. Many of the questions posited by the characters in the book, and the events they experience, are intentionally confusing and disorienting, inspiring more questions than certain answers. Though the book does have a neat and tidy ending that provides Sophie with a clear answer about the strange world she visits, the main message of the book encourages questioning and the discovery process.

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The main theme of Sophie’s World is that the key to surviving the world is understanding yourself.

As Sophie learns more and more about philosophy from the mysterious Alberto Knox, she has to evade the clutches of the creepy Albert Knag.  Alberto tells Sophie that the only way to stay out of Albert’s power is to learn as much as she can about philosophy.  In fact, philosophy is the secret to life. 

One of Albert’s metaphors is a top hat.

A lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity as when a magician suddenly pulls a rabbit out of a hat which has just been shown to them to be empty. (ch 2, p. 14)

We know that the rabbit is a trick, but the rabbit does not know it is part of a trick.  In order to understand life you have to learn all there is to know about philosophy.

Note:  There are chapter by chapter study guides.  I have included a link to the first one.

 

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