To Augustine the author and the rhetor, the image of a pear tree also called to mind other memories.
Furthermore, in Genesis 2-3, it was the taking of fruit from the tree in the Garden of Eden that was a symbol of the sin of the first human beings.
That First Fall involved the tempting of Adam by Eve to join her in evil.
Likewise, he suggested, Augustine and his companions had dared one another to ruin these pears in early adolescence.
The writer of the Confessions would have been the last to shift the blame for his act away from his own decision.
And yet his final comment was that "By myself I would not have committed that theft in which what pleased me was not what I stole but the fact that I stole."
"This would have pleased me not at all if I had done it alone; nor by myself would I have done it at all. O friendship too empty of friendship!"
Friendship was in fact the "unfathomable seducer of the mind." Any kind of crime becomes possible "merely when some bad person says to others, 'Let's go! Let's do it!' and it appears to be evil not to be evil!" (Confessions 2. 9. 17)
Augustine thus followed the leader into evil, just as he regarded Adam as having acted out of a "compulsion to solidarity" (socialis necessitudo) with his female companion.
The sin is magnified for Augustine not only because of his illicit pleasure but because of the corporate character of the act when persons undertake evil in the presence of other people.
Set dramatically against this reflection upon the power of sin, Augustine saw the availability to all people of the miracle of the grace (in Latin, gratia) of God.