Sophie’s World is a novel by Jostein Gaarder, published in 1991. It was originally written in Norwegian, but has been translated into English and many other languages.
I have to admit that I chose this book because of my curiosity. I have heard that Sophie’s World is a book with many difficulties because it’s a philosophy book. This book relates to some philosophy knowledge that we have not learnt form our textbooks. I have planned to spend plenty of time to study this book, but because of the limit of time, I can only take several days to finish it during the National Day holiday. So there are still some theories that I can’t understand.
In this book, Sophie Amundsen is a fifteen year old girl living in Norway in 1990. She lives with her cat, her goldfish, a tortoise, two budgerigars and her mother. Her father is a captain of an oil tanker, and is away for most of the year. He does not appear in the book. Sophie’s life is rattled as the book begins, when she receives two anonymous messages in her mailbox （Who are you? Where does the world come from? ）。 Shortly afterwards she receives a packet of papers, part of a course in philosophy. With these mysterious communications, Sophie becomes a fifteen-year-old philosopher. Alberto Knox teaches her about the history of philosophy. Sophie learns about philosophy while being lectured by Alberto, dressed as a monk, in an ancient church, and she learns about Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Various philosophical questions and methods of reasoning are put before Sophie, as she attempts to work them out on her own.
I thought philosophy is an unreasonable study. However, after reading this book, I find that philosophy is a study which is closest to our lives. Philosophy is a subject relates to some questions that everybody in the world want to know. The aim of philosophy is to solve some problems that can not be proved by science, like good and evil, beauty and ugliness, life and death. I think philosophy is not a kind of science because it can not be measured and calculated. Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation about something that we never know and something we are not sure. It’s also the first step to pursue truth. In our world, we can not avoid disaster and despairing only with science. Science brings us knowledge, but only can philosophy bring us wisdom.
This is a good guide book to philosophy which is different from many other philosophy books. When I was reading it, it feels like a detective book. It let me think following Sophie unconsciously and discuss the philosophy problems also call on some famous philosophers and understand them, walk into their world. This book has many contents but it is not confused. Writer divided the book into some chapters and every chapter has its theme. And every chapter can present several questions. This made readers can understand easily.
From hundreds of years ago, people from every ages and every nations are asking the same questions, as who am I? Where does the world come from? Just because of people’s curiosity, there is philosophy. But, regretfully, people’s curiosity started to decrease progressively because of their habits. When we are growing, we accept this world gradually and take everything around us for granted. Of course, our curiosity will die out. From this part, our curiosity about the world is not match to children. However, philosophers are different because they will never get used to the world. To them, there are still something unreasonable in the world, as well as something complex and something mysterious. They watch this world in children’s view. So they can come up with many deep questions. So they are called wise men. I always think about myself whether I have lost my curiosity and whether I have to watch this world in a new way. Maybe I can not think like children, but I can ask some more questions about the world.
There are many ideas in my mind, but I don’t know how to express them clearly. After reading this book, I acquire much knowledge about philosophy and gain some enlightenment from it. Maybe I should change my attitude towards life.
This book isn’t too difficult to understand. Actually, it’s easy and amusing. In each chapter, a fifteen-year-old girl asks questions to some famous philosophers that she doesn’t know. In the beginning, it is not necessary to have many dialogs. So the writer used the way of letter to tell the story. Since middle ages, it began talking face to face. These questions and answers are so natural that I always think it is true when I was reading. Sophie was truly hiding in an Eden filled with bush and experienced rainstorm and lightning on the square. The most important point is that these philosophers are wise but not sophisticated. Every word and every example of them are so realistic. Because of this, many abstract and dry theories are filled with the air of wisdom and beauty. However, the girl’s characters and qualities are not covered by these masters’ light. She is like a boat on the sea, tiny and tough. She has many her own ideas about these great theories, and it’s very special.
However, it is not enough to let this book be a guide of philosophy only by this. The author uses several clues in this book. In the beginning of this book, we read the story about Sophie, then philosophers. But, suddenly, there is an imaginary girl called Cid, as well as her father who is working Lebanon. Cid’s father is like a god that can be everywhere. He uses every way to show that he exists, but he never let anybody see him. Sophie’s world is very miraculous and fantastic. When she is studying philosophy, Sophie is thinking about her own world at the same time. Finally, they find the world which she has lived in for 15 years is only an imaginary world by a philosophy book of her father. Her families, classmates, house, pets, garden, and all kinds of feelings and thoughts are created by her father. Her world is just somebody’s illusion and shadow.
To many Chinese students, philosophy is hard to understand. But Sophie’s World this book makes philosophy easy to understand. It’s deep and amusing. After finishing the happy travel in this book about philosophy, readers can find the beacon in their lives. This is a world full of wisdom and dream. We can meet those famous philosophers, talk to them and understand them easily. Every time when we meet them, we will be shocked by their great thoughts.
This book also tells me that result is less important than the process we get the result. In our lives, we should always ask but not accept. We should find the beauty of thinking.