Sophie's World | Study Guide

Jostein Gaarder

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Sophie's World | Chapter 34 : Counterpoint | Summary



What happened to Sophie and Alberto? Hilde is puzzled and decides to read the book again to search for clues. Meanwhile, Sophie and Alberto turn up in Oslo, Norway, in the real world, which Alberto insists is both outside Albert's book and his reach. Sophie is disappointed they cannot interact with "real" people. Nevertheless, Sophie wants to be with Hilde when Albert comes home.

At the Copenhagen airport Hilde leads Albert through the shops with notes similar to the ones he sent her. He is unsettled she might be observing him.

Sophie and Alberto are getting used to their spirit forms. They meet a woman from Grimm's Fairy Tales who explains they now belong to the invisible people—formerly imaginary beings who currently reside in the real world.

Albert arrives at home. Sophie attempts to speak with Hilde, and Hilde seems to sense her presence.


Because it was Albert who instigated the diversion when Sophie and Alberto crossed over into "reality," Alberto muses about the possibility that Albert "allowed" them to escape. Alberto doubts Albert would let them go so easily, but conversely he says Albert "may have exerted himself to the utmost to lose sight of [them]." To understand this apparent contradiction, one must return to Freud's theory of dreams. Perhaps, Albert feels guilty for exploiting Sophie and Alberto, but he has repressed this guilt and hidden it away in his unconscious. He has rationalized that it is fine for him to use Sophie and Alberto in this way. After all, they are only fictional. But while writing Sophie's World he has also seen his creations form a will of their own, which would indicate they are fighting for a meaningful existence. He might have therefore put himself into a state of free association. This resulted in the events of the garden party, which in turn led to Sophie and Alberto's breakthrough.

Still, Sophie is disappointed that breaking free from Albert's control and escaping into the real world did not actually make her into a "real" person of flesh and blood. Sophie may never grow up or grow old like Hilde, but she will live on forever as a 15-year-old teenager in the minds of her readers.

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