Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

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Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder is both a novel and a history of philosophy. It takes you on a journey through 3000 years of Western philosophy, presenting important yet annoying questions. Philosophy is presented not as some esoteric exercise to be performed by people with too much free time but rather as something integral to life itself.

Gaarder's work of fiction contains many characters. The main character is a fourteen-year-old Norwegian girl named Sophie Amundsen who receives letters from a stranger, Alberto Knox. Knox is an ideal philosophy teacher because he is never too quick to judge and always thinks about what he is doing. Sophie does not just learn from Alberto; she also questions him and shows that she has ideas of her own to implement. By the end of the story, Sophie shows that she is a philosopher, because she has the ability to look at things from a different perspective and she can act on what she thinks.

Two other major characters include Albert Knag and Hilde Møller Knag. Albert Knag is the brains behind Sophie and Alberto's existence while Hilde Møller Knag is his daughter. Gaarder's whole twist on the story is that Sophie and Alberto are just a figment of Albert Knag's imagination. Knag creates them as a birthday gift for his daughter. While Hilde enjoys the book that her father has created, she also empathizes for Sophie and Alberto and decides to give her dad a dose of his own medicine at the end of the book. This enabled Albert Knag to realize how cruel his intentions have come to be which in turn causes him to free Sophie and Alberto from his "world".

During the whole book, Alberto and Sophie strive to figure out the mystery of Hilde and Albert Knag. When they...