I. Plot Summary
In Book I and II Augustine tells about his childhood from infancy to adolescence. When he sees other people praying he learns to do the same, thus, he develops a relationship and a strong faith in God. He learns to call upon him and seeks guidance in him when needed. When Augustine reaches adolescence he finds himself falling for temptation and drifting further away from God. He gives thanks to God for being so merciful and he asks for his past wickedness to be forgotten.
II. Literary Elements
(A) The theme is Augustine’s faith and appreciation for God because he shows grace and mercy.
(B) The tone and symbolism of Books I and II helps to really connect readers to Augustine. In Book I he seems to be very grateful for the things God ash done for him. In Book II he seems to feel very guilty because he has sinned against God. The peer tree is what represents temptation.
III. Universal Appeal
This text appeals to modern day society worldwide no matter the race, sex, or religion. In Book I when Augustine talks about his infancy and how he developed his faith in God, it is easy for people to relate to. People learn to speak by repetition and association. As infants they cry when they want something. When their parents start to use words to associate things such as juice or cup, it becomes apparent that juice or cup is what they must ask for. They learn to use words when asking for something instead of crying. Much like Augustine, people also learn to develop their faith or religion in a God or gods by what they have seen and heard. For example, when their parents take them to a place of worship and it becomes a routine, they learn to embrace the same religion in which their parents believe in. As kids, most people are forced to go to school and if they don’t go to school, they are still forced to learn at home. They may not like it but they have no choice because their parents say what goes. Augustine went through the same thing.
In Book II Augustine falls for temptation and he steals from a peer tree and he feels guilty. This is something that all people have felt at some point in time of their lives, guilt. Most people have given in to temptation before just like Augustine did. They feel guilty because they aren’t proud of what they have done. Augustine mentions that he goes through puberty and everyone in the world has to go through it too. That is really what connects today’s society to Augustine. Augustine’s Confessions will always appeal to people for generations to come. It teaches us that we have more in common than we even realize and learning and having faith is the way of life.
IV. Works Cited
· Augustine, Aurelius. “Books I and II.” The Confessions. Ed. Sarah Lawall and Maynard Mack. Second ed. Vol. B. 1222-229. Print.
· Colgan, Quentin. “20th WCP: Teaching the Confessions, Books 1-8: Theme and Pattern.” Boston University. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. .
· O’donnell, James J. “Augustine: Confessions.” Georgetown University: Web Hosting. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. .