Augustine Confessions and Rousseau Confessions Literature Essay (Essay Sample)
In response to ONE of the following prompts, construct a coherent, nuanced argument supported with well-analyzed evidence from the text. The paper should be four pages in length and written in clear, grammatically and orthographically correct sentences. Remember that written work should be titled, typed, paginated, and double-spaced with 1-inch margins all around. Use a 12-point, legible font (e.g. Times New Roman).
1. Reading, writing, and literacy (even in different languages) play a crucial role in determining identity in both St. Augustine and Rousseau’s Confessions as well as in The Pillow Book. Using one or two primary examples, formulate an argument about scenes of reading and writing in either St. Augustine, Rousseau, or Sei Shōnagon.
2. Both St. Augustine and Rousseau narrate in their Confessions a number of incidents from their youth that demand elucidation from the perspective of their older self. Choosing one of these episodes in either Augustine or Rousseau, analyze the author’s approach to it. Why is the episode worth retelling? How is he able to understand the person he was? How does he explain his behavior from the perspective of his moment of writing.
3. St. Augustine’s confession foregrounds the idea of a Christian community as linking the individual, God, his Confessions and his readers. Sei Shōnagon offers a very different vision of a community organized by poetic tradition, status relations, and the role of women in court life. Discuss a specific moment or two in which either author constitutes community in their text.
4. What is St.Augustine doing when he quotes from the Bible? Choose two examples, read the relevant passages from the Bible, and consider how he uses those passages in his text. (Note that the numbering of the Psalms in your edition of Augustine’s text may differ from the numbering in the Bible you are using).
5. Throughout The Pillow Book, Sei Shōnagon gives special attention to the ways architecture and space can define or influence human interactions. Focusing on one or two examples from the text, construct an argument about Sei Shōnagon’s use of spatial dynamics in her portrayal of personal dynamics.
6. In the Confessions, Augustine seems to have an ambivalent attitude toward the use of language and the art of rhetoric (the art of persuasion): for instance, he disdains being a mere “salesman of words in the markets of rhetoric” at the same time that his own style (indeed even the phrase just mentioned) reveals remarkable rhetorical power. Formulate an argument about the role of rhetoric in the Confessions, paying attention to Augustine’s ideas about language and literature.
Augustine Confessions and Rousseau Confessions
In Rousseau's Confessions, early childhood education is vital in teaching and developing the characters of children. He believes giving a child a chance to express themselves helps them grow naturally and develop as free-thinking children. Realization of a child's full potential is accepted to be associated with a constraint-free society. If the community does not limit the child, the child develops full potential both morally and educationally. An excellent example of this is when the author gets forced by his uncle, Bernard, to work in a profession he had least expected. The people around the author barely allow him to make his own decisions. They choose careers, jobs, like uncle Bernard and what the author should learn. According to the author, he has deep ambition in studying Latin, History, and Antiques but his father and uncle take him to work in something different. He says working in the new place for long had resulted in his degeneration to a point where his father cannot consider his as his own "When I went to see my father, he no longer treated as his idle" (Rousseau 14). He loses value even before friends. The people that the author is forced to associate with are all limiting factors to his life. For instance, his master is vicious and temperamental; therefore, the author gets freaked out when doing things independently or against his master's will. This is seen when the author receives taught about fake and genuine money by his master. The tone that the master uses is condescending, and some patronizing effect can be felt around the author.
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