The Irony of Sophie's Choice

Downey, Sharon D.; Rasmussen, Karen
September 1991
Women's Studies in Communication;Fall91, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
This article contends that the film "Sophie's Choice" is rhetorically significant because of its portrayal of the irony intrinsic in women's ability to choose. The film delineates the complexity and confusion surrounding Sophie's struggle to free herself from the debilitating dominance of her past as she slowly and painfully rediscover's her capacity to act authentically in the present. Her success with creating choice and its consequent empowerment, however, is mitigated by the film's disavowal of her legitimacy as a woman as evidenced by her ironic decision to die. The work's three sequences ground Sophie's choices differentially in external control, relational power, and personal identity. The pairing of present and past within each segment contrasts Sophie's emergent ability to choose in the present with the progressive denial of freedom in her past, and results in an ironic resolution of the film's tension.


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