Sophie's Choice

Topics: Nazi Germany, Auschwitz concentration camp, Schutzstaffel Pages: 4 (1628 words) Published: May 9, 2007
Thesis Question: Is there any justification for those critics who say that the central figure should have been a Jew, not a Polish woman.

"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 where his true passion lied. In this Brooklyn building, Stingo comes to know his upstairs neighbors Sophie Zawistowaska and her lover Nathan Landau. This relationship, we come to find, is tainted by Nathan's violence and jealous ways. Stingo quickly develops an infatuation with Sophie, who becomes our main character. As we read about her we learn a lot about her past and why she is who she is during the length of the novel.

Sophie was a Polish women and a survivor of Auschwitz, a concentration camp established in Germany during the Holocaust in the early 1940s. In the novel we learn about her through her telling of her experiences, for instance, the murder of her husband and her father. We also come to learn of the dreadful decision she was faced with upon entering the concentration camp, where she was instructed to choose which one of her two children would be allowed to live. She chose her son. Later we learn of her short lived experience as a stenographer for a man by the name of Rudolph Hoss, the Commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. During her time there, Sophie attempted to seduce Hoss in an attempt to have her son transferred to the Lebensborn program so that he may have been raised as a German child. Sophie's attempt was unsuccessful and she was returned back to the concentration camp. She was later released but would never come to know what was of her son....
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