Exploring Human Issues through English Literature

Symbols can be as obvious as a great building or as subtle as the narrative tone or contrasts made. By carefully constructing the symbolism conveyed through these techniques, writers are able to question much of our assumed knowledge by forcing us to take a new look at an old idea. By examining the internal and external hardships faced by the characters discovered in literature as well as the ways they’ve overcome these hardships, one can begin to understand more about how much freedom people really have in making their own choices.1/ In the film Sophie’s Choice, the primary conflict is the struggle Sophie goes through as she attempts to justify her life in Brooklyn following her experiences at Auschwitz. However, she does have a number of other challenges to meet as a result of the choices she’s made. As it eventually comes out, Sophie was once the married daughter of a successful Polish professor who was working before the war on solving Poland’s ‘Jewish problem.’ Sophie has difficulty with her father’s position and decides to discover the truth for herself by observing life in the Jewish Ghetto. Although she sympathizes with the Jews, she fears to become too involved with her boyfriend’s Resistance movement because it might put her children’s welfare at risk. In spite of her efforts to stay outside of the law, she is arrested when she attempts to fulfill her mother’s dying wish to have a ham and the only ham available is on the black market. This gains her a one-way trip, along with her children, to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, Sophie meets the defining choice of her life. She is told to choose which of her children will live and which will be sent off for extermination.

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