Confessions - Essay Example

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[Your full name] Nov 5, 2013 “First Confession” “First Confession” by Frank O’Connor, is a tale of a seven year old boy named Jackie, who fears confession on his first communion. He suffers from ultimate hate for his grandmother and his sister, Nora; and, has always wanted to kill both of them…
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Download file to see previous pages Before confession, an old woman named Ryan, who was also his teacher, was the main person who framed his views about religion and the hereafter. She was the one who would mention hell every now and then. She always had a candle in her purse, which she used to symbolize hell. She would ask boys to hold a finger in the flame, and would tell that it was nothing as compared to eternal burning in hell. “Then she asked were we afraid of holding one finger-only one finger! - in a little candle flame for five minutes and not afraid of burning all over in roasting hot furnaces for all eternity” (O’Connor 2) was what she would tell the boys. Jackie got the idea that religion was all about burning people who did wrong deeds. He knew that life did not matter, as all that mattered was the hereafter in which God had to burn people in “hot furnaces” (2). Ryan was responsible for outlining these ideas of Jackie’s, as she would say, “All eternity! Just think of that! A whole lifetime goes by and it's nothing, not even a drop in the ocean of your sufferings” (2). Jackie’s perception of confession before the priest was also very pessimistic, and this perception had also been granted by the off-putting Mrs. Ryan. She had mentioned an account of a man who had made a bad confession. He stayed in guilty for many days to come, and finally went to priest for correcting his confession; but, he got burnt the night before the confession. For Jackie, that was the consequence of a bad confession, because he says, “This story made a shocking impression on me” (2). Hence, he believed that a bad confession led to horrible death. Moreover, he also believed that he was a great sinner, as Ryan would mention, off and on, that it was important to examine the conscience to be a good person. She would ask the boys if they loved their parents and other people whom they knew; and, Jackie knew that he was an ultimate sinner because he hated his grandmother and his sister. “I had no hope of ever doing anything else” (3) means that Jackie had become hopeless because his perception of religion had been deteriorated in a very bad way. That is why, the day he was going to confess, he looked back at the houses and metaphorically thought that it was like “Adam's last glimpse of Paradise” (4). However, Jackie confessed. It was a heart-wrecking experience for him. He could not find the courage in the first instance; but, he confessed before the priest the second time he got the chance to speak it all out. To Jackie’s surprise and contrary to what Nora had told him, the priest proved to be very understanding. He listened to Jackie’s intentions of killing the grandmother and Nora, and gave him three Hail Marys. That changed the world for Jackie. Previously he had thought of religion as a freaking thing that intended to give punishments only; but now, he understood that religion was not scary. He says, “I knew now I wouldn't die in the night and come back, leaving marks on my mother's furniture” (9), which shows that he was not worried of burning due to a bad confession or burning in hell anymore. Before confession, his state of mind was upsetting, which shows when he says, “the wind whistled outside so that the silence within seemed to crackle like ice under my feet” (4); but, after the confession his mental state had totally changed, which shows when ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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