SOPHIE’S WORLD: READING GUIDE DR. HALL
The novel Sophie’s World (1991) by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder offers a tour of the history of Western philosophy as well as a post-modern detective story. We chose this reading for IB Seniors because it ties in so well with our fundamental TOK questions and issues. Because of the intellectual journey the novel charts, it makes a companion to Siddhartha which adds, however, an eastern counterpoint to the western orientation of Gaarder’s novel. For analysis and discussion purposes, I have divided the novel into the following five sections. Please type out or write neatly your responses to this guide on separate pages. Cite page numbers for all passages you paraphrase or quote in ( ). You are welcome to add your own comments/critiques. Approximately one section will be due per week during the first 5 – 6 weeks of the first quarter.
We will discuss your responses during the assigned weeks of class as well as take reading quizzes on each section. We may also write practice TOK essays based on ideas and issues presented in Sophie’s World. Note that this book is a translation. It will enhance your understanding if you look up Gaarder on the web. Print and critique an article you find provocative; this will be part of your article file.
I) “The Garden of Eden” – “Aristotle” pages 1 – 120
This opening section introduces Sophie and her world of home and school. It sets up the relationship between Sophie and her philosophy teacher, who communicates with her primarily through letters. It reviews some of the material we studied in the spring (Socrates) and some you have studied earlier at Central (Greek mythology).
1 Make a list of the characters as you are introduced to them. Like Sophie, you will begin trying to identify Hilde and her father. 2 For each section make a list of the major schools of philosophy mentioned, noting a