Analytical Essay: Heartfelt Confession

Decent Essays

The priest’s intervention, protection, and instruction help Jackie reject the dark, judgmental theology of Mrs. Ryan as well as the false facade of Nora’s piety and control, bringing him to an understanding of the absolution a proper, heartfelt Confession provides. The priest enters the confessional as “a little light” (179) that will bring Confession out of the dark teachings of Mrs. Ryan. Because Jackie is so concerned with Ryan’s teachings about Hell, he ends up talking to the priest “upside-down” (179), like his view of Confession. Immediately after Jackie falls “flat on [his] back” (179), as if he was cast out of the confessional and into Hell, the priest rushes out “look[ing] something terrible” (180) to accept him back in. When Nora comes along and attacks Jackie, the …show more content…

In Confession, the priest affirms Jackie’s thoughts about his grandmother by calling her “a bad case” (181), making Jackie feel better for thinking about killing her. However, he still makes sure that Jackie knows that he is “a terrible child” (181), so he can have the sorrow for those thoughts that is necessary to make a good Confession. Telling Jackie that “there’s a lot of people” (181) he’d like to attack with a knife, the priest assures Jackie that his thoughts are normal, but then lets him know that those thoughts are dangerous by telling him that “hanging is an awful death” (181) and that everyone who killed their grandmother said “ ‘twas never worth it” (181). The priest makes Jackie so comfortable with him and Confession, despite Mrs. Ryan’s fire and brimstone teachings, that they were in the confessional “for a full ten minutes talking” (182). From the time he enters the confession box, the priest affirms, protects, and guides Jackie, teaching him what Confession is really about and showing him the way into a comic

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