Contrasting Ideologies in “Sophistication”
by Sherwood Anderson
In the story of “Sophistication” by Sherwood Anderson there is one character that sticks out as what one would consider a foil, and he is know in this short story as the College Instructor. He is described as dry and a gold digger going after the banker’s daughter. Helen does not really enjoy his company “she wanted to drive the instructor away” (Anderson 169). She loathed how her mother thought that no man from the town would be worthy of her, or the fortune that would come along with her marriage. Furthermore, she did understand why she could not go after love, but has to go after prestige for her family. He knew that the life of a college instructor could not make him a large amount of money, but he needed a way to fund his studies as a college professor. Also, he never sees himself falling in love with Helen, he even says “I should marry women with money”, ultimately he is only in it for the money (169). He sees this as an opportunity when he found Helen’s mother wanted her daughter to marry. He thought he has a great opportunity to marry into money. Nevertheless, he never accounted for the wants or feeling of Helen, her wants conflicted with convictions of the college instructor. It could be argued throughout the book that “He wanted to appear cosmopolitan” (171). Although, this sounded appealing to Helen’s mother, it does not appeal to Helen. She despised the thought of ever being with him, she considered herself a free spirit, not wanting to be held back or told what to do. Proving this, she runs out of her house yelling for George. In her heart she knows that they are the only ones who truly understood each other. Thus, the college instructor is effectively run out of her life after Helen and George go on their silent walk.
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