The story “First Confession” by: Frank O’Conner depicts a child named Jackie, who is a young Catholic boy nearing his first confession. First confession is a tradition for young catholic boys and girls where they give their “first confession.” Frank ‘Conner’s story tells about a women names Mrs. Ryan who teaches the children about the important task. She tells the children about a man who went to a priest’s house one night to give a confession and when the priest left to get dressed he returned to a burning bed. The reason the bed was burning is because the man gave a false confession and he was sent straight to hell.
Mrs. Ryan’s story about the man that have given a bad confession, she holds a candle while she tells this story. I believe that the candle symbolizes hell and eternal burning for giving a bad confession. “…she asked were afraid of holding one finger…in a little candle flame for five minutes and not afraid of burning all over…for all eternity.” (Pg. 306) Another form of symbolism in this story is the dark confession box which represents how Jackie’s sins. “It was pitch-dark and I couldn’t see the priest or anything.” (Pg.308) The light that enters the box symbolizes God shedding light on the darkness. “A slide was slammed back; a little light entered the box, a man’s voice said: “who’s there?” (Pg. 308) The light was provided by the priest so the priest can also represent God in a way. He feels sympathy for Jackie when he is presenting his confession and takes pity on him as God cares for the children and takes pity on them. Nora, Jackie’s sister, symbolizes Jackie’s conscience the way she keeps telling him he is a bad boy and that he is going to be in major trouble. “Isn’t it a terrible pity you weren’t a good boy? Oh, Jackie, my heart bleeds for you! How will you ever think of all your sins?” (Pg. 307) Jackie’s grandmother could symbolize the devil the way she tempts Jackie to do bad things. “Father gave me a Flanking; mother interfered, and...
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