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Sophie is a Polish Catholic, not a Jew, so it's a perfectly valid question to ask why she's sent to Auschwitz. Indeed, Sophie, herself, doesn't really understand what she's doing there. She keeps saying to herself "I don't belong here." But the Nazis don't make such a distinction between Sophie and the predominantly Jewish population of the camp. As far as they're concerned, all the inmates of Auschwitz are subhuman, so Sophie's loud protestations of racial purity are of no avail.

Sophie appears to have been caught up in a sweep carried out by the Nazis against the Home Army, the Polish resistance movement. Although Sophie didn't lift a finger to help the resistance, she nonetheless shared a common dwelling place with Wanda, who definitely was involved in subversive activities. Guilt by association was often sufficient reason for the Nazis to send people to the camps, and this would appear to be the best explanation for Sophie's terrible fate.

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Styron does not delve greatly into why Sophie was sent to Auschwitz.  The larger implications of evil and the philosophical tenets of the Holocaust are where he spends most of his focus in the narrative.  We are left to presume that Sophie was sent to Auschwitz because of mistaken identity or an act of random targeting.  Sophie is not Jewish.  She is Polish.  Her father and her husband are both zealous pro- Nazi advocates.  Yet, at the time, the Polish population was seen as enemies of the Third Reich.  In this, Sophie's Polish background becomes an element that contributes to her capture and her deportation to Auschwitz with her children.  It is through this revelation that some powerful philosophical elements emerge.  The first is that the Holocaust focused its energies on the Jewish people, but not all of its victims were Jewish.  This becomes an important point to raise because Sophie's pain and guilt over being both "victim and victimizer" are the same experiences that victims of the Holocaust experience, even though she, herself, was not an intended victim of the Holocaust.  At the same time, the fact that Sophie was targeted, even though she was not an intended victim of the Holocaust, helps to feed her very convoluted and tormented state of being where clarity and moral simplicity are replaced by intricacy and obscurity.  It is here where Styron spends most of his energy, bringing out that Sophie being almost arbitrarily sent to Auschwitz helps to enhance it.

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