Feminist Len In Augustine's Confessions

1813 Words8 Pages
When viewed under a feminist lens in Confessions, the most notable female character, Monica, risks losing her significance as a compassionate caregiver in Augustine’s life. In chapter three of Confessions, Augustine discusses Monica’s dream with the readers. After Monica tells Augustine of her dream of his perdition, Augustine recalls trying to twist Monica’s dream to ease her “downcast[ness]and daily floods of tears” (III.19). A modern feminist would have issues with Augustine’s description of Monica’s emotional energy, saying that she is entitled to her emotions, because she is his mother and deserves the utmost respect, regardless of her gender. Augustine’s indifferent attitude response to Monica when he “tried to twist [the dream’s] meaning”…show more content…
Before meeting Lady Continence, Augustine feels torn “between [the lust] against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh”; he wants to harmonize his feelings so he can “become [Y] our soldier” (VIII.11), who is not “bound to the earth… afraid of being rid of all my burdens” (VIII.11). Augustine feels guilty for being between a righteous life with God and an imperfect life with his secular desires, because he has acknowledged that a better life exists than he is living. However, he has not been able to make the full jump to being right with God. As a result of his internal dissonance, Augustine’s guilt manifests in a physically as Lady Continence. She appears to Augustine as “serene and cheerful without coquetry”, and tells Augustine to join the others who have already relinquished their earthly desires: “Cast yourself upon him, do not be afraid… Make the leap without anxiety; he will catch you and heal you” (VIII.27). As stated earlier, Augustine believes females are inherently emotional and innately irrational, so his mind believes she says “Are you incapable of doing what these men and women have done?” (VIII.27). With Lady Continence as a driving force for Augustine’s continued anguish and dissatisfaction in life, Augustine then “cries, “How long, how long is it to be… Why not put an end to my impure life this very hour” and hears the voice of a child telling him to flip to a specific spot in the Bible (VIII.28). Augustine flips open to Matthew 19:21 and reads: “Go, sell all you have, give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (VII.29). As Augustine “cried out loud… I acknowledged inwardly what I read in external words. I had no desire for earthly desires to be multiplied (IX. 10). After his vision of Lady Continence and the period
Open Document