Monday, February 14, 2005

Book 1, Section 9-10

Augustine describes the misery he experienced in childhood from the beatings that resulted from his not working hard enough in his studies. He says that he had no idea why he was expected to apply himself to his studies. Now whose fault is that!

He describes the merriment and laughter of those who witnessed his beatings. Although he described them as wishing no evil at all, on the contrary, I find their attitude sadistic. It is the laughter of people who are relieved that it is someone else being beaten rather than themselves. No doubt the parents themselves were beaten when they were children, and no doubt, the society was probably one where all children were beaten and, slaves, I'm sure, even more.

Augustine is somewhat ambiguous, almost contradictory, about the experience. He suggests that he deserved the beatings for not studying well. Yet he also says that he cannot understand how others, including his parents, could be amused at the propect of someone else--him--being beaten. Augustine admits to his desire to want to play games, as opposed to studying, and rightfully sees that the "business" of adults is playing as well; moreover, their "business" is even less becoming as well. He sees the hypocrocy in punshing children for playing, barely, but doesn't go further.

An important point is that Augustine say that he sinned in doing less school work than was demanded of him. He is very hard on himself.


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