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First Confessions

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    1. First Confessions By Frank OConnor Project Presented by Mollie Traugott Rochelle Madhere

    2. Summary Jackie is a young boy who is due for his first confession before receiving his first Holy Communion. He lives with his mother, father, sister, and grandmother. The grandmother is an embarrassment to Jackie; she walks around barefoot and carries a jug of porter around with her most of the time. Jackies sister, Nora, is awfully rude to him, and gets a penny from the horrible old woman every week. Jackie feels guilty about hating both his sister and his grandmother, so he does not want to confess his sins. He is sure that they will send him straight to damnation. Jackie fakes a toothache to get out of confession, but then his teacher arranges for him to have another. Nora walks him to the church, taunting him. Then he goes in to confess, and confesses to attempting to kill his sister and Grandmother. To his surprise, the priest doesnt damn him eternally, but instead agrees with Jackie that his sister and grandmother are horrible. But he explains to Jackie that killing his grandmother would not be worth it. Then he walks Jackie out into the church yard where Nora is waiting for him. She asks about his penance, and he only had to say three Hail Marys. Also, to Noras displeasure, she finds that the priest has given Jackie candy.

    3. Characters Jackie- young boy who hates his sister and grandmother and is afraid for his first confession Nora- mean older sister, gets a penny from Gran every week Gran- Jackies grandmother who walks around in bare feet and carries porter; she is a lousy cook and favors Nora over Jackie Ryan- old woman who prepares children for their First Communion Priest- hears Jackies first confession and takes pity on him

    4. Critical Questions The significance of the title First Confessions is that this is Jackies first confession. Even though he is scared and has committed terrible sins, he learns that confessing is not so terrible. The story is told by Jackie, probably to rally sympathy for Jackie from the readers. The tone of Jackies language is mournful so the reader does feel his fear over confession. The narrator is not very reliable; children will always blame someone else for their wrongdoings, like Jackie blaming Nora for being so mean.

    5. Critical Questions 3. The opening of the story focuses on how much Jackie hates his grandmother because she embarrasses him and favors Nora. The end of the story focuses on how Nora is suddenly jealous of Jackies small penance and candy he received from the priest. These two characters that Jackie loathes begin and end the story to win over the audience to Jackies cause.

    6. Critical Questions 4 The main character Jackie transform form a nave young boy who is scared of confession to someone who is more understanding of sins and the process of confessions. 5 The major theme of the story; confession isnt as bad as it seems the minor theme; every human has sinful thoughts but we must learn to deal with them sensible

    7. Critical Questions 6 Are there any allusions? Mrs. Ryan, the Sunday school teacher made reference to the fiery pits of hell to demonstrate to the students what will happen to them if they did not go to confess their sins. 7 What were some symbols you found in the story? The candle with the burning flame Mrs. Ryan uses represents hell and the finger of the children represents the souls of humans burning for all eternity in hell.

    8. CriticalQuestions 8 What is the authors goal or purpose in writing this story? OConnor is trying to make the reader aware that its okay to sin as long as you make the effort to repent for your wrong doings and even the biggest sins can be forgiven through confessionals. 9 What is your reaction to this story, how does your reaction influence your reading? While reading I believed to be more tolerable of Jackie vs. Nora even though Jackie's sins were greater. Which in the end made me more sympathetic toward Jackie and dislike Nora his older sister.

    9. The End!