Sophie's Choice Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Stingo's feelings about his job and where he moved from to New York.

Stingo is our narrator, who introduces himself to us first as a twenty-two year old Southerner who has moved to New York and is "struggling to become some kind of writer." (pg. 3) The nickname "Stingo" evolved from "Stinky," which is what the kids called him at prep school in Virginia. No one calls him Stingo anymore, but it was the name by which he was known in the late spring of 1947, when the events of this narration begin. As a young, aspiring writer who left the South to make it big in New York, Stingo was initially thrilled to be working for the publishing firm of McGraw-Hill & Company. His job was to review manuscripts submitted by other aspiring authors.

2. What types of behavior did Stingo indulge in that his new boss at McGraw-Hill hated?

He wrote scathing reviews of every manuscript submitted to him. He shares examples with the reader of the reports he handed in to his editor, all of which put down the hopeful authors with an almost maniacal glee. Stingo refuses to conform to office standards. He did not have the courage to quit on the spot, but instead he stops performing any actual work, and begins reading more radical newspapers. Stingo lets himself get caught releasing balloons on the roof.

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