Jean Jacques Rousseau "The Confessions"

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Jean-Jaques Rousseau
The Confessions

To understand the kind of man Jean-Jaques Rousseau was we must first understand the time in which he existed. Rousseau was born in Geneva on June 12, 1712, which is why his book was seen as perverse and edgy to most of the public. He reveals everything from his sexual encounters as a young man to his promiscuity as an adult. This autobiography that Rousseau wrote is about a man at the end of his life accounting all the events that took place from childhood to adulthood. The book begins with his childhood and feelings of a father who never fully loved him in the beginning. He thinks this is due to the fact that his mother was killed during childbirth. "He seemed to see her again in me, but could never forget that I robbed him of her. "(Pg 19) It is hard for us to understand that a motherless child who's father showed no love towards him finds a way to see the good in people.

This goodness that Rousseau sees in people can be accredited early on to Mlle Lambercier. This woman was the motherly symbol that Rousseau craved as a child. He stats that he wanted nothing more than to be loved by everyone and Mlle was the one person who gave him a mother's love in his early years. This woman was also there to keep Rousseau in line as a child. Along with the love of a mother came the discipline a child needed and Mlle was that woman to reprimand Rousseau when he misbehaved. Later Rousseau credits his father of being an "honorable man" who loved him deeply. (Pg. 61) This is where the book seems a little contradictory because one minute he calls his father an honorable man and another minute he states that his father left Geneva without honor to avoid prison. Furthermore the love from his father seems to grow for him throughout his teens. It is all of these characters in Rousseau's life that make him feel that there is good in people. He feels that people are good and it is the world around us that corrupts people and leads to an...
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