Sophie's World | Study Guide

Jostein Gaarder

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Sophie's World Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Oct. 2017. Web. 15 Aug. 2020. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, October 25). Sophie's World Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Sophie's World Study Guide." October 25, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2020.


Course Hero, "Sophie's World Study Guide," October 25, 2017, accessed August 15, 2020,

Sophie's World | Symbols


The Rabbit

Alberto provides a clear image of a white rabbit to symbolize the universe and the humans who live in it. The residents of Earth are tucked deep down in the rabbit's fur, comfortable in their ignorance. Only the philosophers dare to climb up the rabbit's fur for a better look at the universe.

He also compares man's wonder at the world to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. Anyone who sees this trick has to ask themselves how it is done. A human understands that nature is not a trick because he is living inside it, yet so many questions arise about it. This is the root of philosophical inquiry.

The Magic Mirror

Fictional writers don't often point out within their own novel they are using an object as a symbol, but Gaarder does in Sophie's World. Through the use of metafiction, Gaarder establishes himself as "the creator" of the characters inside his work, and they comment on his techniques. At the end of the chapter on Hegel, Alberto and Sophie talk about Hegel's concept of the "world spirit," and Alberto comments that "philosophy is the mirror of the world spirit." Sophie then asks if the world spirit has anything to do with the magic mirror, and Alberto says he assumes the mirror has significance or "it wouldn't keep coming up." In a great bit of romantic irony, Alberto also compares them both, as fictional characters, to a piece of paper a child draws on: "you can't ask the paper what the drawing is supposed to represent."

The Magic Mirror is both a symbol and an allusion to Lewis Carroll'sThrough the Looking-Glass, in which Alice enters a strange parallel world via a mirror. The Magic Mirror establishes a connection between Sophie and Hilde, who live in two parallel worlds. It is said to allow the viewer to see their reflection wink at them with both eyes. Sophie and Hilde both witness this phenomenon after they become aware of the other's existence, an additional clue they are linked.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Sophie's World? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes