Short Story Analysis
Jessica Gonzales ENGL 1301 Short Story Analysis First Confession In the story of “First Confession” Frank O’Connor has us look at the story from the boy, Jackie’s, point of view. Jackie is a seven year-old boy who must go to make his first confession before he can take his first communion. The story takes places in various settings that include Jackie’s house, Jackie’s school where Mrs. Ryan would come and give her warnings against hell to the children, the Chapel where Jackie and Nora have o make their first confessions and the confession booth inside the chapel.
He is terrified because Mrs. Ryan, who has taught the school kids about confession, has made Jackie believe he has broken all of the Ten Commandments. Worst of all, he must confess to the priest that he has made plans to kill his paternal grandmother because she favors his sister, Nora, and her lack of city manners that drives him nuts.
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This story relies on his characterization, the point if view, and how the story relates to us today.
It all began when Jackie’s grandfather died and his grandmother on his father’s side moved in with him and the family. He was disgusted by his grandmother’s habits, typical old drunk lady with gross habits, which lead to feelings of hatred towards her. The tension comes out in the sibling rivalry between Jackie and Nora when Nora always gets money from grandmother out of her pension and Jackie does not. The mother usually sides with Jackie. By telling the story from Jackie’s point of view, it makes you become sympathetic to Jackie’s plight.
The family was raised in the beliefs of organized religion, probably catholic because the time for Nora’s and Jackie’s first confession was approaching. This was when the story reached its peak of Nora’s annoying behaviors. Nora was saying things to torment Jackie because she knew he was really terrified of doing his first confession because of Ryan, whose Job it was to prepare the children for their first confession. She talked to the children about hell and hardly mentioned heaven. As the day approached,
Nora continued to torment Jackie. Nora is no doubt a flat character. She is a snob from beginning to end. When the day came for the children to do their first confession, Jackie was really nervous. This became the turning point of Jackie’s character. When it came time for him to go inside the confession booth, Jackie sat on the shelf where you are supposed to place your elbows. When the father came in to start the confession session, he was appalled by the fact that Jackie was positioned like this in the confession booth.
Jackie, being overwhelmed with nervousness, was startled at the father’s voice when he shouted in confusion as to why he was positioned so and fell out of the booth. This was when Nora’s true colors were finally seen by somebody and what better person that the father. She yelled at him in public because she felt that he disgraced her. Father saw right through her and did the same as she did to Jackie. The priest allows Jackie to do the face to face confession when Jackie falls out of the booth and the priest comes out to see Nora