Sophies Choice: Movie vs. Book

Truth exposed!

The Book

The book is of course the original version of the two. It is obviously more in depth since a movie needs to be edited and kept short but there are some key differences between the two.


-In the book there is a large emphasis on the comparison between WWII Germany and Poland and America during it's civil war.


-In the book we briefly get to see Stingo face his families past as slave owners and see how he grows from it.


- Using the parallels previously mentioned the story had a theme that the holocaust hurt more than the jewish community.


-The book goes in more depth with Sophie's choice. It says her daughter was sick and had an ear infection, implying that that was one of the underlying reasons why she chose her to sacrifice.


- Rape and suicide are very present.

The Movie


-Because the stuff about slavery/anti semitism is cut out we don't get to see Stingo's character deal with his families past as slave owners, reducing some of the character development.


-The movie is much much more plot oriented and thus loses alot of the comparisons and personal commentary between anti semitism at the time and its parallel to slavery.


-The movie is even more brief than the book when it comes to Stingos past.


- Without the parallels of anti-antisemitism and slavery the book loses one of the biggest themes it has to offer; that the Holocaust was a tragedy for Jews, Polish and just about anyone target by Hitler.


-The movie leaves out certain details that might have influenced Sophies Choice when it was time to sacrifice one of her children, thus losing some of the character complexity.


- Rape and suicide are either lessened or implied, for obvious reasons.

Why the changes?

These changes were made for a few reasons. First and foremost is that this is indeed a movie so there is time constraints, even though the movie isn't particularly long. Some of the other stuff is lost because a movie plays out in a way where we dont get to see the Narrator's thoughts and therefore don't get to see some of the ideals/ commentary present in the book. Lastly, movies often censor rape and suicide, especially in a time sensitive era such as the 80's so it's no surprise these things were removed.