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Literary Devices in Confessions
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
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...
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...
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:...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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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