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by Saint Augustine

Confessions Theme of Suffering

There's no shortage of suffering in the Confessions, though it's mostly of the internal, soul-searching variety. But that doesn't stop Augustine from talking about his suffering as though he were being slowly tortured over the course of thirty years. Augustine connects his suffering to his separation with God, who is the only one who can actually alleviate his misery. Just another reason why Augustine should worship God. Not too surprisingly, though, God is almost the last remedy Augustine tries; there are a lot of hits and misses before Augustine pinpoints the real cause of his suffering.

Questions About Suffering

  1. At what point in the narrative does Augustine really start to suffer? Or is he suffering the whole time?
  2. According to Augustine, what is causing him to suffer? In what different ways does this suffering manifest itself?
  3. What are some of the thematic or metaphoric ways in which Augustine describes his suffering?
  4. How would you describe Augustine's suffering?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Augustine's conversion to Christianity fixes all of his suffering.

Metaphor is the only way in which Augustine can describe his suffering.

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