42 pages 1 hour read

William Styron

Sophie's Choice

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1979

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapters 4-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

Sophie tells Stingo the history of her early life. She was born in Cracow and experienced an idyllic childhood. Her parents both worked at the university. Her father was a law professor, and her mother taught music. The family was multilingual, and Sophie spoke German, Russian, and French as well as Polish. As a teenager, Sophie expected her happy, peaceful life to continue. She married a mathematics student named Casimir, and the two dreamed of studying in Vienna as Sophie’s parents had done. Shortly after Germany invaded Poland, Sophie’s world collapsed. Both her father and husband were taken to concentration camps and later shot as part of Hitler’s campaign against intellectuals. Sophie tells Stingo that she felt tremendous guilt for never having said goodbye to either one.

Sophie eventually ended up in a concentration camp, which was liberated by the Russians at the end of the war. She was resettled in America with no family, no friends, and no money. Stingo observes, “She was feeling her way. In every sense of the word having experienced rebirth, she possessed some of the lassitude and, as a matter of fact, a great deal of the helplessness of a newborn child” (97).

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 42 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools