What is Most Necessary to Improve the Human Condition? Choosing Integrity Despite Societal Pressure: St. Augustine Confessions & Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own
In Confessions, by Saint Augustine, and A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf, both writers feel pressure from their societies to commit actions that go against their values or to fit into a mold that does not suit their beliefs. Augustine discusses his fall into sexual sin and his transformation to freedom through integrity found in God, while Woolf chooses to defy the societal roles placed on women through her works as a writer. These authors explore conditions under which they felt social pressure, and yet it was more beneficial for them to act in accordance with their own values. Both texts navigate the question of why it may be necessary to follow one's own integrity and reject society’s pressure, however, they seem to find different sources of integrity. The stylistic choice of both authors to write autobiographically reflects their desire to share with others the nature in which they were able to improve their condition. For Augustine, this was in the act of humility against his lustful and prideful past, while for Woolf it was finding her voice in a male-dominated society.