According to Dictionary.com, confession is an “acknowledgement or disclosure of sins.” In the short story “First Confession” by Frank O’Connor, the main character, Jackie, demonstrates that confession is not an easy thing to do through his age-defying actions and characteristics. Jackie displays characteristics such as childishness and limitations as a child through his way of handling situations. He shows lack of knowledge and inexperience by the way he deals with problems and through his thought process. Jackie’s other defining characteristics are anger and his treatment of others such as lashing out against his sister and grandmother. These characteristics are obvious through his responses, outlook and anger. Throughout the short story Jackie displays his childishness, and limitations as a child, these are characteristics that describe him aptly. While listening to Mrs. Ryan’s story, Jackie admits that “the woman was really interesting about hell, but his attention was all fixed on the half-crown” (334). Jackie is unable to grasp the lesson Mrs. Ryan is trying to teach him because he is more focused on the half-crown. Jackie is intrigued that she is willing to give it away “to the first boy to hold his finger in a candle flame for five minutes”. Jackie is focused on the less important, materialistic things in life; he is not yet old enough to realize knowledge is power and he should be listening to the true meaning of what Mrs. Ryan has to say. Another perfect example of Jackie’s limitations as a child is evident during his confession. For example, when he enters the confessional box, he does not know where to kneel. As a result, he kneels on the armrest (336). This causes him to topple out of the box and into the corridor. Because of his young age and limited knowledge, Jackie did not know where he was supposed to kneel in the confessional box. Jackie does not yet know the true meaning of things due to his...
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