Close Reading of a Primary Text: Choose one of the following quotations and use it as a prompt for your discussion of one of the major themes in Augustine’s Confessions.

Writing Assignment #1: Close Reading of a Primary Text
Instructions: Choose one of the following quotations and use it as a prompt for your discussion of one of the major themes in Augustine’s Confessions:
1. “And my reluctance to learn you used for a punishment which I well deserved: so tiny a child, so great a sinner. So by making use of those who were failing to do anything morally right you did good to me, and from me in my sin you exacted a just retribution. For you have imposed order, and so it is that the punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.” I.xii.19
2. “The recalling of my wicked ways is bitter in my memory, but I do it so that you may be sweet to me, a sweetness touched by no deception, a sweetness serene and content.” II.i.1
3. “I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself.” II.iv.9
4. “As yet I had never been in love and I longed to love; and from a subconscious poverty of mind I hated the thought of being less inwardly destitute. I sought an object for my love; I was in love with love, and I hated safety and a path free of snares.” III.i.1
5. “But you were present, immediately at the back of those who flee from you, at once both ‘God of vengeances’ and fount of mercies: you turn us to yourself in wonderful ways.” IV.iv.7
6. “I had felt that my soul and his soul were ‘one soul in two bodies.’ So my life was to me a horror. I did not wish to live with only half of myself, and perhaps the reason why I so feared death was that then the whole of my much-loved friend would have died.”
7. “The person who knows truth knows it, and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. Eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity: you are my God.” VII.x.16
8. “I inquired what wickedness is; and I did not find a substance but a perversity of will twisted away from the highest substance, you O God, towards inferior things, rejecting its own inner life and swelling with external matter.” VII.xvi.22
9. “No one wants to be asleep all of the time, and the sane judgement of everyone judges it better to be awake. Yet often a man defers shaking off sleep when his limbs are heavy with slumber Although displeased with himself he is glad to take a bit longer, even when the time to get up has arrived.” VIII.v.12
10. “But I was an unhappy young man, wretched as at the beginning of my adolescence when I prayed you for chastity and said: ‘Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.’ I was afraid you might hear my prayer quickly, and that you might too rapidly heal me of the disease of lust which I preferred to satisfy rather than suppress.” VIII.vii.17
Your paper should be 1000–1200 words in length (minimum of 3 standard-type pages, double-spaced). You are not expected to consult any sources other than Augustine’s Confessions. Citations of the primary text should be made in parentheses within your essay using book, chapter and paragraph numbers, not page numbers.
RELS 2500 Writing Assignment Grading Rubric
Total marks available: 20
Content (marked out of 10)
• The paper has a clearly-stated thesis statement which is argued throughout the entirety of the paper
• The paper engages with multiple relevant passages from throughout the assigned reading
• The paper demonstrates familiarity with the primary text and comprehension its main themes and arguments
• The paper advances a convincing reading of the primary text, supported by evidence from the text rather than unsubstantiated opinion
Style (marked out of 5)
• The paper is free of spelling and grammatical errors
• The paper is written in a clear and engaging style, avoiding run-on sentences, excessive repetition, and disjointed argumentation
• Each sentence logically follows from the sentence that precedes it
• The paper is balanced; no one paragraph is excessively long or excessively short
• The paper does not rely excessively on block quotes
Structure (marked out of 5)
• The selected quotation is included at the top of the first page
• The paper has an introduction and a conclusion
• Shifts in topic are introduced in new paragraphs
• The paper uses full sentences and well-structured paragraphs
Grading Scheme
19–20: Superlative quality; engaging, original, and insightful interpretation of the primary text; clearly structured; free of grammatical errors; a pleasure to read
17–18: Very good; clear and convincing argument that demonstrates comprehension of the primary text and follows the conventions of essay writing; checks all of the boxes
14–16: Good; shows significant engagement with the primary text; some minor problems with structure, spelling/grammar, and/or argumentation; room for improvement
12–13: Satisfactory: demonstrates limited engagement with the primary text; significant problems with structure, spelling/grammar, and/or argumentation
10–11: Marginal pass; meets the basic requirements of the assignment but shows a lack of understanding of the primary text and/or major problems in structure, grammar/spelling, and/or argumentation; “D for done”
1–9: Does not meet the minimum requirements of the assignment; significantly too short; not written in essay style, shows no evidence of engagement with the primary text; a hot mess

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