Summary Of Sophie's World And The Human Condition

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There is no absolute truth in this world and reality is as subjective as imagination because people view the world through different lenses. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder and “The Human Condition” by Howard Nemrov both explore this vague distinction between reality and imagination by developing a frame story structure, utilizing nearly identical scenes, and challenging the characters and readers to let go of their optical illusions. These elements prompt the characters and readers to recognize the delusions and attempt to find the place where “the world and thoughts exactly meet.” The frame story structure utilized in Sophie’s World and “The Human Condition” reflects the obscured nature of truth. A frame story is a structure of a story…show more content…
The similarity and difference between the two locations perplex the readers of which to believe in. “The Human Condition” compares and contrasts the motel room and the room within the painting. Both rooms are directly connected to each other as mentioned, “And that is now the room in which I stand.” In other words, the “silent and mad” room within the picture is said to be the room that the man is standing in. Unlike the silence in the room within the picture, the silence in the motel room is cancelled out by the man “keep[ing] the TV going.” Although both rooms build confusion to what is real or not, the rooms are essentially different. Within Magritte’s picture, the painting or the window “open[s] on a landscape,” creating a bucolic image. On the other hand, “traffic” and “headlight blaze behind” the TV or the window in the motel room. Moreover, a motel typically symbolizes a temporary and cheap condition. This stark contrast emphasizes Nemrov’s commentary on modern life: the lack of idyllic scenes and…show more content…
In “The Human Condition,” the man is oblivious to where he is. He directly acknowledges his ignorance when he says, “Nothing could be more/Useful to a man than knowing where he’s at,/And I don’t know…” Similarly, Sophie and Alberto are initially unaware of their imaginary existence. As the man in the poem is “told to wait,” Sophie and Alberto are controlled by Major Albert’s imaginations. Most importantly, the question of absolute truth arises in Sophie’s World when Alberto reminds Sophie, “Don’t believe everything you see” (Gaarder 333). Optical illusions are developed in the book through Aladdin, Alice, Pooh, and other fictional characters. The optical illusion in the poem is the TV screen in front of the window. These illusions serve two purposes. They remind the reader that the “picture” or the “world” may or may not be real. For example, the window shows “cars” that seem true and the TV shows “heads of heroes” that seem untrue. However, the assumption that the window view is the reality is wrong, because there is no evidence to trust the window. Therefore, “truth is subjective” and “all knowledge is human knowledge” as Hegel stated (Gaarder 358). Another purpose of the illusions is to prompt the characters to find truth. The abandoned man in the motel wants to know where he is as it is “useful to a man” to know where he is at. Likewise,

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