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“Literary Analysis of First Confession by: Frank O’connor”

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“Literary Analysis of First Confession by: Frank O’Connor”
Frank O’ Connor’s “First Confession” is a fastidious short story about fear of eternal punishment for childhood sins. This is a story of a misunderstood young boy who feels disdain and disgust towards his grandmother’s looks and old ways. He also feels anger toward his relatives because they sided with his grandmother. He blames his grandmother for his childhood sins. From trying to lash his sister with a bread knife, not eating the food prepared by her grandmother, kicking his grandmother on the shin, to the extent of planning to kill his grandmother. These childhood sins have to be confessed to a priest because of Jackie’s fear of damnation and eternal punishment. His sister accompanies him to the church on his first confession. After the confession, the priest gave Jackie a very light and absurd punishment of three Hail Mary’s and to suck a bullseyes, which his sister finds ironic. An analysis of “First Confession” reveals a boy’s first confession as a fundamental experience of becoming a better individual. Frank O’Connor is careful with his words as to not fear the character but empathize with him.
The story “First Confession” is written in first person point of view which assists in O’Connor’s depiction of the characters confession. "I decided that, between one thing and another, I must have broken the whole ten commandments, all on account of that old woman, and so far as I could see, so long as she remained in the house I had no hope of ever doing anything else.” The constant repetition of “I” instils to the reader that we are inside the boys head going through the boys first confession. Frank O’Connor uses this point of view to be able to convey the story through the character; which, in turn, gives a sense of intimacy between the narrator and the reader throughout the story.
O’Connor’s connotation of the boy entering the church reveals the surroundings of the first confession, while, allowing the reader to understand what is happening within the boy’s mind. The boy reveals he “knew then [he] was lost, given up to eternal justice” while “the door with the coloured-glass panels swung shut behind [him]”. O’Connor begins to describe the church’s setting while linking the boy to the shut door revealing there is no going back and that he must confess. The boy also describes that “the sunlight went out and gave place to deep shadow” which can depict that they boy must finally face the dark thoughts that have overwhelmed him. Frank O’Connor’s connotation of the setting of the main event of the story is directly in line of the characters emotions.
Frank O’Connor continues to use the description of the setting to help reveal how the character feels as the young boy begins to leave the church. When the young boy first entered the church he explained “silence within seemed to crackle like ice under my feet” as if he felt he were on thin ice. However, upon leaving the church the boy unveiled that “the frozen silence melted” and he “heard the screech of trams on the road, [his] heart soared”. The young boy entered the church with a negative outlook but has left feeling as free as a bird. As he passed the shadow of the church, the young boy abandoned his dark thoughts as he shared that he “knew now [he] wouldn't die in the night.” The young boy also begins to reveal his change as he shows remorse and sympathy while describing his death as a burden that his poor mother should never bare. Connors literary technique creates the “First Confession” to be a unique story in which the reader sympathizes the character despite his unreasonable hate towards his grandmother. The enlightened experience of his first confession cemented this sympathy with hope for a better ending for the character. The reader is able to go through this experience with the boy while O’Connor creates the setting and allows the reader into the boys emotions at the same time. This understanding shows the impact of his first confession emitting empathy for the character and the reader.…...

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