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Confessions

Confessions

by Saint Augustine

Confessions Analysis

Literary Devices in Confessions

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

When in the Roman Empire… So, each city in the Confessions adds something different to the book's narrative, largely because Augustine associates each city with a different stage of his life. (We...

Narrator Point of View

It contains much that you will not be pleased to see: this I know and do not hide. (I.5.2)The "you" in this case is not actually the reader. It's God. Okay, so this is a book addressing God. Guess...

Genre

The Confessions is like an autobiography on steroids. We've got all the usual ingredients for an autobiography: a first-person narrator telling us his exciting life story. But Confessions focuses o...

Tone

There is no shortage of "Lord I have sinned, please forgive my sinning soul because I am a sinner and I don't deserve your mercy"-type language in the Confessions. Think groveling, big time. Like:...

Writing Style

PersonalWhen we say that Augustine's style is personal, we mean that there are going to be a lot of "I's" in the Confessions. Probably more than most first-person narratives, even. This is because...

What's Up With the Title?

Before novels were a thing, works didn't have titles so much as descriptions. Think of books like Beowulf (the story of Beowulf), the Odyssey (the story of Odysseus), the Aeneid (the...

What's Up With the Ending?

A better question might be, "Which ending: the end of the autobiographical part at the end of Book IX? Or the very last page at the end of Book XIII?" This is a valid question, because there is som...

Tough-o-Meter

Make no mistake: Confessions is not a novel. Though this tome at least has a plot, which is more than we can say for a lot of books, it is also a piece of philosophy. So it's not exactly a page-tur...

Plot Analysis

Let's Start at the Very Beginning, A Very Good Place to StartWhere else to begin but when you were born? Augustine's life of miserable sinnin' begins at birth, you know.Being Bad Feels So GoodThe o...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Living Under the Shadow of a Dark PowerThat dark power is most obviously sin, but for Augustine, that basically means anything that isn't God: lust, Manichees, pride because he wins speech competit...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

When dividing Confessions into three parts, we think about the plot as building up to Augustine's moment of conversion:Act 1: Carefree sinningAct 2: Starting to question his beliefs and feel guilty...

Trivia

Augustine is the patron saint of brewers, printers, and theologians. How does one get that job?Augustine wasn't the only saint in his cohort: his mother Monica and the Bishop Ambrose were canonized...

Steaminess Rating

You would think that a book about Christianity would err on the chaste side, but the Confessions manages to be pretty darn sexy. That's because Augustine's favorite sins are those of the flesh, and...

Allusions

Aristotle, Categories (IV.16.1)The BibleCicero, Hortensius (III.4.1)Epicurus (VI.16.2)Esau and Jacob (VII.6.7, VII.9.5)The Golden Calf (VII.9.5)Paul (VII.21.1, VIII.4.2)The Platonists (VII.9.2...

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