Essay about Overcoming Fear in Frank O’Connor’s First Confession
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Overcoming Fear in Frank O’Connor’s “First Confession”
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David W. Madden believes several of Frank O’Connor’s stories reflect his personal life and goals. Jackie, the young protagonist, in the “First Confession,” loves his mother as equally as O’Connor loved his mother. Madden also believes O’Connor should have selected a religious calling because the priests mentioned in his stories incorporate the instrumental impact on the “laity’s lives” (3227). Understanding women, contributed by his mother’s influence, frequently are displayed in O’Connor’s writings. Madden feels that some of O’Connor’s stories focus on “naïve, sensitive figures who struggle with what seems to them the insoluble mysteries of…show more content…
They talk about the horrific details of hanging for such vicious crimes. At first, Jackie is unwilling to confess but regretful for having to part with his new friend (the priest). He values him as an exceptionally entertaining character “in the religious line” (182).
Jackie is a young naïve boy who is nervous about the transition of obligations according to his religion. He is planning to make his First Communion, but initially he is required to make his First Penance. Jackie proclaims, “I was scared to death of confession” (177). He thinks his sins are disgraceful, and he may be punished for them. On the other hand, he is petrified to make a bad confession because he does not want to burn in Hell for eternity like Mrs. Ryan taught him. Jackie’s youth and innocence leads him to believe literally the tales that have been told to him about confession (178). Jackie thinks that his grandmother and sister are the core to all his evil doing, and he wishes death upon both of them. Most young children have these same feelings.
Jackie’s confidence increases because of the relationships he finds in his mother and the priest. Jackie’s mother is the typical mom. She is always shielding him from the world, and especially his father’s thrashings. It seems she is his only ally in the world until he meets the priest. Jackie feels betrayed when Nora takes him to confession instead of his mother. As a result, his sister