Throughout the Confessions, Augustine provides a journal of his life. Education played a major role in his development. Augustine the character’s education began from the moment he started to communicate. He later went on to be formally educated before being removed from school for financial difficulties. Augustine the narrator believes his education a granted will from God; however, at times, Augustine the character seemed to take advantage of this will. Through this ability, granted by God’s will, Augustine the character was able to become literate.
Book one begins with infancy and childhood. Augustine the character’s first form of education began when he learned to talk. In chapter eight, Augustine the narrator discusses his transformation from infancy to childhood: from not knowing language to turning into a “chattering boy” (Bk. 1, Ch. 8, pg. 9). Augustine the narrator also points out that he did not learn to speak through a formal education, such as in school. Instead, he learned to speak and communicate through “varies cries and sounds and movements of my limbs to express my heart’s feelings, so that my will would be obeyed” (Bk. 1, Ch. 8, pg. 9). Through his acquisition of speech, Augustine the character was able to enter in society and be formally educated.
As Augustine the character’s life continued on, he was forced to attend school to obtain formal learning, something which he had not previously known. Augustine the character was a slow learner, which resulted in him being beaten. August the narrator points out how this was a highly praised method of teaching, which had been followed for many years. This method was so highly praised due to those who came before Augustine the character, and had “laid out the hard paths that he was forced to follow” (Bk. 1, Ch. 9, Pg. 10). As well as being a slow learner, Augustine the character was also a sinner in the fact that he did not try as hard in school. This was not due to lack of memory or intelligence, but because he liked to play rather than learn. Therefore, this led to him being punished. Augustine the narrator goes on to question this logic by comparing it to adults and business. According the Augustine the narrator, his childhood love for play was the same as an adult’s love for business; however, adults are not beaten and punished as he was.
As he aged, Augustine the character’s love for play showed. Augustine the narrator admits that his disobedience because of his love of play could have resulted in his learning of nothing if he were not forced to do so. Even though he was forced to learn, Augustine the narrator says it was not because of his teachers, but because of God’s will for him to do good with what he learned (Bk. 1, Ch. 12, pg. 13). Augustine the narrator believes that teachers taught in the hope that their students would become successful; whereas God’s will for his pupils to learn came from his belief that one’s learning would be used for good.
As Augustine the...