Sophie's Choice: William Styron Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Sophie's Choice: William Styron

William Styron's novel Sophie's Choice explores the way people moved on with life after the Great Depression, and World War II. The book gives an inside look into the lives of two very different individuals, Sophie, a Polish woman and an Auschwitz survivor, as well as Nathan, a Jewish man who is a paranoid schizophrenic and growing more mentally unstable. The story is told through the eyes of a young writer named Stingo and tells of his interactions with the couple. Grief and depression are a lot more complicated than anyone would like to imagine, and the difficulties victims of those conditions endure need to be dealt with, but in the 1940's people were encouraged to "live the good life" rather than deal with the problems echoing continuously in the backs of their minds.

Coming out of the Great Depression, this generation was encouraged to be anything but depressed. In this book these two characters, although distinct in background, must deal with their problems, and face the consequences. The pressure to move on, as is human nature, eventually leads to a sadly fatal conclusion.
Sophie Zawistowska, a gorgeous Polish woman living in the same house as Stingo, is a troubled survivor of the concentration camps during World War II. Throughout the book her story is revealed, through long monologues and stories Stingo, the narrator, tells. The title of the book is Sophie's Choice, but not until the last few pages is it told what Sophie's choice is. Sophie is shown as a vulnerable character, a lover of music and her boyfriend. Her passions also include America, the beach, and creative outfits. Everything in the world in which Sophie lives is the American Dream, the world after the depression.

Throughout the book her story is unveiled. Sophie, the fun-loving Polish girl, has been twice widowed and lost two children. On top of these disasters she is also sent to a concentration camp. In the final pages of the novel she is given the ultimatum by a Nazi soldier,

You may keep one of your children. The other one will have to go. Which one will you keep? (p. 562)

This decision is possibly the most difficult one a parent would ever have to make, and tormented Sophie for the rest of her short life.

Suppose I had chosen Jan to go . . . to go to the left instead of Eva. Would that have changed anything?" (p. 572)

This question remained unanswered to Sophie, who was never given the opportunity to grieve properly for her loss. Instead, she was cast into a world where she has no choice but to be happy.

One thing that gives her hope for true happiness is Nathan, a man she meets in the library one day. Nathan plays the role of her hero. He is a biologist who has plenty of financial resources. He nurses her back to health and the two become lovers. However, there is one glitch in this wonderful chance meeting. Nathan is a paranoid schizophrenic. He is addicted to the drug Benzedrine Sulfate, and drinks...

Find Another Essay On Sophie's Choice: William Styron

Reflections on The Tempest Essay

2092 words - 8 pages Shakespeare might have had in his conscious mind when he wrote a play. After all, the first aim of a dramatist or novelist is not to present an idea, but to tell a good story. Just because an artist did not have a particular theme or symbol in mind does not mean that we cannot find it there. I was reminded of this when I heard William Styron, the man who wrote Sophie's Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner read from his works at JMU. In 1985 he

Untitled Essay

9007 words - 36 pages acquisition and disposal, and the maintenance of records/information on City owned real estate. Storm Water Maintenance schedules and performs maintenance of the city’s drainage facilities. Survey provides land and construction surveying support to Engineering Services and other city departments. FAX         817-459-6585 ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT: * Director - William A. (Bill) Verkest, P.E.         6551 Assistant Directors - Keith Melton, P.E

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages ., 1974. Mack, Maynard. "The World of Hamlet." Yale Review. vol. 41 (1952) p. 502-23. Rpt. in Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995.

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages , let the audiences become more involved, and let them all leave feeling that they had seen some characteristic of themselves in the play. This is what makes a play great, and makes the audience want to see it over and over again. Even a seemingly needless character can relate to someone. The more sub-plots (ones that are well worked into the play) the more people that can relate, the better the play. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Durband, Alan, ed. and modern translation. Hutchinson & Co.: London. 1986.

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages . Kravitz, David. Who's Who in Greek and Roman Mythology. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1975. Lidz, Theodore. Hamlet's Enemy, Madness and Myth in Hamlet. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1975. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet Prince of Denmark. A Pocketful of Plays. Vintage Drama. Ed. David Madden. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1996. Wormhoudt, Arthur. Hamlet's Mouse Trap. A Psychoanalytical Study of the Drama. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1956.  

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages wretchedness!" (48). In the end, he knew of all his errs and learned from them. At the center of every Greek tragedy exists a tragic hero, and Creon is just that. He fights for the right, makes a choice that results in suffering, tries to reverse an injustice, has a character flaw, and despite his efforts, becomes one of fate's victims. Creon was crowned king when the current king Eteocles was killed in the Battle for Thebes, which was initiated

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Sugarman done fly away Sugarman done gone Sugarman cut across the sky Sugarman gone home... (6)1   Milkman was born to fly. Perhaps not! Maybe, he was just doomed to a life of flight. Toni Morrison seemingly presents her readers a choice. Milkman is born under a paradoxical cloud. His life seems to be destined for controversy. Toni Morrison eventually leaves the reader with a "choose your own ending" configuration. As in

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Similar Essays

Love And Guilt Essay

1285 words - 6 pages William Styron, who wrote Sophie's Choice, sought out other novels to appreciate an author's thematic and stylistic choices. One of the novels which Styron admired was Sound and Fury, by William Faulkner. Styron embraced some of Faulkner's approach to writing and this can be seen by juxtaposing both Sophie's Choice and Sound and Fury. Love and guilt are major topics which both novels share. These emotions are felt by humans everyday, but having

The Sophie's Choice Essay

745 words - 3 pages The Holocaust becomes a breathtaking personal drama, in the midst of a vast cataclysm, in William Styron's Sophie's Choice, a big and questing novel with autobiographical elements and a fearless determination to explore a particular human dimension of a historical nightmare. The novel speaks through the voice of Styron's alter ego, a polite young Tidewater Virginian called Stingo who comes to New York in 1947 in the hopes of being a writer. With

Sophie's Choice Essay

1642 words - 7 pages "In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn". This is the opening line in the novel Sophie's Choice by William Styron. In addition to being the opening line, it is the way we are introduced to our narrator, Stingo. To begin this story, Stingo moves into an apartment in Brooklyn after leaving his job at a publishing house called McGraw-Hill, and begins to work on his own novel

Examples Of Diagnostic Criterion For Unipolar Depression, As Defined In The Dsm Iv , In William Styron's Darkness Visible: A Memoir Of Madness

2834 words - 11 pages present during the same two week period and represent a change from previous functioning in order for a diagnosis to be made. Also, at least one of the symptoms must either be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure. William Styron, author of Darkness Visible: a Memoir of Madness clearly depicts all nine symptoms in his autobiographical account of depression.The first of the nine symptoms listed in DSM-IV is depressed mood most of the day