42 pages 1 hour read

William Styron

Sophie's Choice

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1979

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Chapters 13-14Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 13 Summary

Stingo pauses in his narration to talk about an episode from Sophie’s youthful past. In 1937, a German industrialist named Dürrfeld comes to visit Cracow. Sophie’s father is delighted to conduct Dürrfeld around the city and discuss culture and business with him. Sophie finds herself physically attracted to Dürrfeld, and he seems to show the same interest in her. She only meets him one more time in her life, at Auschwitz six years later, after he’s given control of the entire complex.

Stingo now recounts the end of his day at the beach with Sophie. They return to the neighborhood bar to talk into the late hours before her departure for her new apartment the following morning. Stingo prompts her about the loss of Eva, but Sophie has little to say other than that the child was killed on the day of her arrival at Birkenau. She quickly turns to the subject of Jan instead. Stingo observes, “The very fact that the little boy still lived, even though beyond her reach, and that she might somehow eventually get to see him was enough to sustain her through the initial phases of the nightmare” (424).

During the early days of her incarceration, Sophie receives a visit at the Höss residence from Wanda, who wants her to steal a radio.

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