Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 404
Confessions is an autobiography by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. As such, the story lacks distinct characters. The people who influence Rousseau can be placed in 3 categories. In the first part of the book Rousseau interacts with family. His mother, father, uncle, and cousin are all talked about. In the remaining sections of the book, Rousseau talks mostly about employers and love interests. As many of these people make very brief appearances only the most significant have been written about below.
Rousseau’s mother Susanne died in child brith.
Rousseau’s father Isaac got caught up in the law and ran away from his son at an early age. This played a role in Rousseau’s own decision to run away at the age of 16. Rousseau was sent to live with his Uncle Bernard.
Bernard is the name of both his uncle and cousin. With Bernard, he learns some Latin and goes on mischievous adventures.
Rousseau’s nanny is written about as one of his first early sexual experiences. She beat him at the age of 11 and he found it confusing that he desired more.
Pontverre is his friend who introduces him to Madame de Warens.
Madame de Warens is an older woman who he lived with as a young man. She flirts with him, however, nothing ever comes of it at first.
Countess de Vercellis is a woman Rousseau works for. He is her transcriptionist. She passes away and Rousseau is left to return to Madame de Warens. The second time he is with Madame de Warens he grows attached to her. They develop pet names and host parties together. He is put in charge of her finances.
Claude Anet is Madame de Waren’s lover. He passes away and this is when Rousseau becomes sexually involved with Madame de Warens. While traveling Rousseau learns that the Madame has replaced him with a new love interest.
The Count in Venice is Rousseau’s next employer. He is rude and has a temperament.
Thérése le Vasseur is Rousseau’s wife. He talks very highly of her.
The French King requests to meet Rousseau after reading his opera. However, Rousseau declines and leaves France.
Madame d’Epinay is the next woman he lives with.
Madame d’Houdetot is his next love interest in the home he lives.
Saint Lambert is the man that Madame d’Houdetot is with. A fight is initiated and Rousseau must leave.