Sophie Essay Research Paper As the story

Sophie Essay, Research Paper

As the story progresses in Sophie s World, Sophie Amundsen continues on with her

philosophy lessons. As she gets more and more involved with these lessons she soon

starts to really look at things in the world at a different perspective. Still strange things

are occurring to Sophie like her getting postcards from Hildes father from the UN

Battalion in Lebanon. Sophie still can not figure out why these postcards are coming to

her and not Hilde. Sophie starts learning about the Hellenistic Age in pages 121- 139.

Hellenism, is an interest in, a devotion to, and imitation of the culture and ideals of

ancient Greece, especially as developed in Athens n the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The

term, implying an unrestricted, pagan love of life, is often used in contrast to Hebraism,

which implies an austerely moralistic, less sensuous, way of life. The two main

philosophical schools that Sophie learned about were Stoicism and Epicureanism. The

Stoics taught that one should live according to nature, which is the reason of Logos that

permenates all things. The sage who follows this advice will achieve apatheia, or freedom

from suffering. The Epicureans held that all things are composed of atoms and the void

and that a simple life is preferable to empty wealth and fame. Their goal was ataraxia, or

tranquillity. After reading about the Hellenistic Age she started to question the divine I .

Could she believe that she carried inside herself a soul that was from a spark of fire? If

that was true then she would be the true divine creature.

Several days had gone by that she had not heard from her teacher Alberto Knoxs,

so she decided to go camping with Joanna. Both Sophie and Joanna decided to take a

look around the Major house (the house that Sophie knew was once occupied by her

philosophy teacher). There she and Joanna found postcards to Hilde and soon enough

Sophie let Joanna in on the things that were going on. Joanna now knew the secret that

Sophie was hiding. The two girls left the house but Sophie took a brass mirror with her

that was in the house. Joanna was spooked about the whole thing that was going on so

they went home. When Sophie got home she hung the large mirror on the wall in her


The following morning Sophie received another brown envelope with her next

lesson. Her next lesson consisted the information about the Indo-Europeans, Semites,

Israelis, Jesus, and the Pharisee Paul. After this lesson Sophie did not hear from Alberto

Knox again for a week and she did not receive any postcards from Lebanon. Looking

over all the letters and lessons from her teacher trying to find some clue to this Hilde

mystery. One night when Sophie was making dinner for her and her mother she reached a

phone call from someone. This someone was Alberto Knox asking her to meet with him in

person at the St. Mary s Church the next day. She did not have any time to give a answer

because he hung up the phone. Sophie told her mother that she was spending the night at

Joanna s house so that she could go and meet Albert Knox. The next day came, and

Sophie finally got to meet Albert Knox but the only thing was that he was dressed up in a

monks outfit. He talked to Sophie about the Middle Ages, St. Aquinas, and some clues

to who this Hilde might be but never revealing anything else. He was playing mind games

with her. A little while later Sophie had to leave and while she was leaving Sophie noticed

a picture of Madonna with a little drop water from under her eye. She questioned whether

it was a real or tear or not. After that vision she rushed off home. When Sophie got home

she went straight to bed and fell fast asleep. Sophie began to dream about Hilde and some

strange middle aged man calling Hildes name and she woke up. The most interesting thing

was that when Sophie woke up she found a gold crucifix under her pillow with the initials

HMK engraved on it. She was really starting to get mad. All these things she has from

Hilde: a red silk scarf, white stocking, postcards and to top it all off a crucifix.

The next morning it was time for Sophie to go to the philosophers house for the

first time. When she got there she told Knox that she found the crucifix from Hilde. But

Knox really did not give her a straight answer. While Sophie was there she received

another lesson by Knox and lesson about The Law of Universal Gravitation. After her

lesson she went home but she had to take the bus home but remembered she had no

money but walking only a few yards she discovered a coin just enough for her ride home.

She wondered how she was lucky enough to find the coin when she really needed it. She

started wonder whether Hilde s father had left it there for her. But how could that be if

he were in Lebanon, a chill ran down her spine. A lot of strange things are starting to

occur to Sophie.

Time went on and Sophie still received her strange postcards and still she was

seeing Mr. Know, but Knox was always dressed in a costume of some sort. Lately all her

lessons were starting to become personal lessons. The next lesson Alberto Knox gave her

was the lesson about Descartes. Descartes attempted to apply the rational inductive

methods of science, and particularly of mathematics, to philosophy. Before his time,

philosophy had been dominated by the method of Scholasticism, which was entirely based

on comparing and contrasting the views of recognized authorities. Rejecting his method,

Descartes stated , In our search for the direct road to truth, we should busy ourselves

with no object which we can not attain a certitude equal to that of the demonstration of

arithmetic and geometry . He therefore determined to hold nothing true until he had

established grounds for believing it true. The single sure fact from which his investigations

began was expressed by him in his famous words, I think therefore I am . From this

postulate that a clear consciousness of his thinking proved his own existence, he argues

the existence of God. Descartes philosophy, sometimes called Cartesianism carried him

into elaborate and erroneous explanations of a number of phenomena s. He was the total

voice of skepticism. After her lesson about Desecrate, Knox took her over to the

computer that was on his table. The computer had data about her, where she lived and her

birthday. The computer talked so Sophie typed in if it knew : HILDE MOLLER KNAG.

It only knew where she lived and what her father did. Sophie got angry and the computer

wanted to shut off so Sophie pressed some more keys like: KNAG. Knox jumped when

he saw that. He went over to the computer and punched in the keys erase KNAG. Knox

gave her another clue something about Albert Knag. That struck Sophie with the name

similarity: ALBERT KNAG AND ALBERTO KNOX. How odd!!

After that little adventure Knox presided to talk about the next philosopher ,

Baruch Spinoza. According to him the universe is identical to God, who is the uncaused

substance of all things. The conception of substance, which Spinoza derived from the

Scholastic philosophers, is not that of a material reality but rather of a metaphysical

entity, the comprehensive and self sufficient basis for all reality. Spinoza conceded the

possible existence of infinite attributes of substance, but held that only two are accessible

to the human mind, namely, extension, or the world of material things, and conscious

thought. Thought and extension are considered to depend on and exist in an ultimate

reality, God. In the individuality of things, whether physical objects or ideas, Spinoza

explained as particular modes of substance. All particular objects are the modes of God in

the attribute extensions; all particular ideas are the mode of God in the attribute thought.

The modes are nature begotten , or nature in the multiplicity of its manifestations;

substance or God is nature begetting or nature in its creative unity, acting as the

determiner of its own modes. It was almost time for Sophie to leave when she grabbed a

bananas and started peeling it. There was a message written inside:HERE I AM AGAIN,

HILDE. I AM EVERYWHERE. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! But Sophie felt that was impossible.

She showed Knox but there really was not much of a reaction from him. The only thing

he said was that they now know that Hilde s father is ingenious. Knox left her with a

thought: MAYBE OUR ENTIRE LIVES ARE A DREAM. What a strange concept.

Two weeks went by and Sophie did not hear a word from Alberto, the only thing

she received was a birthday card for Hilde. Sophie decided to go to Knoxs places to see

him but when she got there he was not there only a note for Hilde was posted on his

door. She got mad tore the note off and stuff it into his mailbox. On June 14, Knoxs dog

Hermes came to get Sophie so she could go see Knox. Hermes stopped at a park and

waited for Sophie to sit on the park bench and then all of a sudden Hermes looked as if he

were going to bark but something else came out of his mouth : HAPPY BIRTHDAY,

HILDE! She was speechless. Then Hermes gave a couple of barks to cover up what he

just said, and then headed off to Knox s place. When she got there Knox opened the door

and they continued onto the next lesson which was about John Locke. After he finished

with Locke he started about David Hume. Hume s philosophical position was influenced

by the ideas of John Locke and George Berkeley. He was endeavoring to prove that

reason and rational judgment are merely habitual associations of distinct sensations or

experiences. Hume denied the existence of the individual self, maintaining that because

people do not have a constant perception of themselves as distinct entities, they are

nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions. Hume held the concept of

right and wrong is not rational but arises from a regard for one s happiness. The moral

good, is benevolence, an unselfish regard for the general welfare of society that Hume

regarded as consistent with individual happiness. The next philosopher he discussed was

George Berkeley. Berkeley s philosophical theory was developed as an answer to

skepticism and atheism. He claimed that skepticism arises when experience or sensations

are separated from things. Once this has been done, no way of knowing about things is

possible except through ideas. To overcome this separation, a person must recognize that

the being of sensible things consists in their being perceived. Whatever is perceived is

real, and the only things that can be known to exist are those that are perceived. Things

exist as ideas in the mind. Berkeley insisted, however, that things exist apart from the

human mind and perception, as people cannot control what ideas they have. Therefore

there must be a mind in which all the ideas exist, an infinite omnipresent spirit, namely,

God, that perceives everything. At this point Alberto is playing real mind games with

Sophie. As Sophie leaves to go home she thinks she heard him say, SEE YOU LATER,


From pages 287- 341 the story gets rather confusing. From now on the chapters

deal with Hilde really living and Sophie. The chapter called Bjerkely discusses Hilde

waking up on her birthday and finding a present from her father. This present was a book

that her father was writing. It was called, Sophie s World . It was about Sophie s days

when this whole philosophy lesson started. As Hilde continued reading she discovered

what Sophie had learned and soon learned where her red silk scarf had gone to.

Continuing to read on she wanted to meet Sophie more and more face to face. The story

is starting to shift from Sophies life to Hilde s life and then to Sophie s Life and back and

forth back and forth. The mind games are starting big time right now and its really

confusing. I am getting confused about who is getting the Kant lesson at this point, I

believe it is Sophie. But what is getting confusing is where did Hilde pop out of? Will she

ever meet Sophie or is this adventure of Sophie s a dream for Hilde or a dream of

Sophie s?


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