Sophie's Character in Gaarder's Novel Sophie's World Term Paper

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Sophie's World / Foucault Theories

Sophie's World - like many novels and human stories as well - can bring truth to light in the mind of the reader and observer as a link between knowledge and power. The first theory of Michel Foucault ("Knowledge, Power, and Truth") holds that knowledge is always "linked to power" and knowledge has the power to "make itself true." Further, Foucault says, power is not necessarily brutal or "repressive" and moreover the power can be expressed through understanding (knowledge) and cultural values. These values are found throughout Sophie's World. It is Foucault's belief that when speaking of truth, one must understand the cultural context of that truth (i.e., what is believed as being true throughout time in a given culture at a given time); there is an underlying "regime of truth," he explained, based on the setting, and context.

Foucault-focused knowledge in one aspect of Sophie's story is plain to see when Sophie and Alberto become aware of the fact that they are fictional; they thought they were real, and the knowledge of their real nature over a period of time made itself true. What Sophie thought she knew about herself and the things around her guided how she behaved; she had no idea until her 15th birthday that she was a pawn in her father's philosophical work of fiction, which in turn, is merely the fictional approach to philosophical knowledge expressed in a novel by Gaarder.

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In her "travels" through history, as she meets with high-visibility philosophical theories and witnesses cultural settings in the many time periods philosophers lived in, all of those instances have their own "regime of truth" for her, because her knowledge of them makes them true.

Term Paper on Sophie's Character in Gaarder's Novel Sophie's World Assignment

When the dog Hermes speaks, for example, is that just a fictional tool of the author whose manuscript Sophie is a part of, a character in? The knowledge of having believed that the dog spoke makes it true. To wit, on page 260 (paperback version) the dog "began to shudder violently" and his jaws "began to vibrate but Hermes neither growled nor barked"; he opened his mouth and said "Happy birthday Hilde!" And although she must have only imagined it, and in a moment the dog is barking normally as though to mask the earlier words spoken, "deep down" she became convinced that the dog indeed had spoken. Truth is linked to knowledge and that is power in the mind of Sophie.

The novel's characters and dialogue helps put forward Foucault's first "knowledge is linked to power" theory. Indeed, the theories and philosophies of the great men that Sophie… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Sophie's Character in Gaarder's Novel Sophie's World."  Essaytown.com.  May 9, 2007.  Accessed April 14, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/sophie-character-gaarder-novel/713123.