Augustine's Confessions

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In Augustine’s Confessions, Augustine presents his mother as the perfect model of a devout Christian. From the moment Augustine is born, she assumes a strong involvement in her son’s life in order to ensure his conversion to Christianity. However, this heavy involvement works against her at times. Although Augustine may portray Monica as a pious model of faith on the surface, through the passion she expresses for her son’s salvation, he also notes certain flaws stemming from that passionate care, namely her underlying obsession to see him achieve worldly success, ultimately revealing Monica to occasionally serve as an obstacle inhibiting Augustine’s spiritual enlightenment.
Early in Confessions, it’s clear that Monica’s depiction as a model
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This tendency of hers is revealed early in Augustine’s life when she decides the type of education Augustine will receive. By Monica’s choice, Augustine’s education establishes itself in reading and studying books—a method of learning he mentions he despises and finds useless—in order to cement his success in the world: “The only concern was that I should learn to speak as effectively as possible and carry conviction by my oratory” (Conf. 2.4). By having him concentrate on this education, Augustine depicts Monica to be a sort of social climber in that she is focusing too much on his success, rather than helping him further understand his relationship with God. Augustine himself notes the flaws of the education he received stating, “No one is doing right if he is acting against his will…Those who put compulsion on me were not doing right either; the good was done to me by you, my God” (Conf. 1.19). In forcing this empty education on her son, Monica fails to do any good for …show more content…
Monica proves the most devoted Christian and mother, and this is exactly what ends up working against her in the end. In trying to intensely control every aspect of Augustine’s life, whether it be through his education or relationships, Monica becomes too invested in certain smaller aspects of Augustine’s life, neglecting the bigger picture of spiritual enlightenment she originally strived for. She either reveals herself to be erroneously focused on building up Augustine’s worldly success, or she just simply proves herself as exercising too much control over Augustine’s life, at times making decisions for him that ultimately push him further from

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