Transcending the garden : the role of the sign of the garden in Augustine's Confessions.
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Wolfe, John Edward, 1980-
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Augustine’s Confessions is a complete and unified document. Augustine utilizes sign to bridge apparent textual gaps and to establish an intimate relationship with his reader. Specifically, I assert that Augustine establishes a three tiered movement in the Confessions in which a sign is introduced, transcended, and reflected on. To confirm this movement, I trace the development of a specific sign, that of the garden, throughout the text. I begin with an examination of the introduction of the sign, which focuses on Books II and VIII. The garden events spanning these books serve to introduce the garden sign to the reader, as well as introduce a variety of possible signified objects. After successfully introducing the garden sign to the reader, Augustine begins to distance the text from certain signified objects. Augustine transcends preconceived notions of the garden sign to direct the reader toward a specific signified object, the divine. After encountering the divine, Augustine directs the reader back to the previous signified objects. This allows the reader to contemplate these possible signified objects in light of the true signified object. This results in a new understanding of the signified objects, and a deeper appreciation of the true signified. My final step in this project is to engage similar unity theory project.