Otázka: American literature
Sophie’s choice – William Styron
Literature after WWII – After WWII, most authors wrote novels with issues of war. The most notable writers are Joseph Heller with his novel Catch-22 and William Styron.
Other notable writers are e. g. Russian emigrant Vladimir Nabokov with his controversial erotic novel Lolita, Ernest Hemingway, Nobel laureate, with his novel The Old Man and the Sea.
Popular were also fictions and fantasy books.
William Clark Styron was an American novelist and essayist, who won major literary awards for his work.
He was born on the 11th of July in1925 inHiltonVillage historic district of Newport News inVirginia. He fought in the Second World War in Pacific. After War, he studied atDukeUniversity inNorth California. He published there his first works. He also published stories for the university literary magazine.
In his later years, he had problems with depressions.
He had three daughters and one son. His son is a professor at YaleUniversity.
He died from pneumonia on the 1st of November in 2006 at age81 inMartha’s Vineyard.
WORK – He was best known for his novels. He dealt with issues of guilt and punishment. The most notable works are:
His first novel was Lie Down in Darkness. It was published in 1951 at his age 26. The story is about the dysfunctional Virginian family. This work has also film adaptation from this year. In main role you can see Kirsten Steward.
The Confessions of Nat Turner was published in 1967. It is about issue of racism.
Sophie’s choice is a psychological novel, which was published in 1979. It’s awarded the US National Book Awards for Fiction.
The main characters are Sophie, Nathan and Stingo.
Sophie is a beautiful Polish immigrant. She had experience with Holocaust. She underwent through the concentration camp inAuschwitz, where she lost her both children. She also met there with Rudolf Höss.
Nathan is an American Jew. He’s paranoid schizophrenic and Sophie’s lover.
Stingo is a beginning novelist, who looks for inspiration for his book. He comes from farm.
PLOT – Sophie’s choice is narrated by Stingo, who wants to be a famous novelist. The story begins in summer in 1947, when Stingo moved toBrooklyn. He met lovers Sophie and Nathan there. They live in the same house and become friends.
Later, Sophie tells Stingo about her past. She describes her anti-Semitic father, who was a law professor in Krakow, her arrest by the Nazis for smuggling food to her mother and her meeting with Rudolf Höss, the commander ofAuschwitz.
Sophie has an affair with Stingo and after that she tells him about the situation when she arrived to the concentration camp toAuschwitz. She met the Nazi sadistic doctor, who said her that she could choose which of her children could live and which must go to the gas chamber. She chose her son, because he had greater chance for survival. She also tells him how she tried to rescue her son by Lebensborn program in the camp. But she had never seen him again.
Nathan wants to kill Stingo and Sophie. But Stingo must go home, because of his father.
Upon arriving back inBrooklyn, Stingo discovers that Sophie and Nathan have committed suicide by ingesting sodium cyanide and they are dead.
FILM – The book has also film adaption from year 1982 with Meryl Streep in main role. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role of Sophie.