First Confession

First Confession is a humorous, personal experience written in first person by Frank O’ Connor. Jackie is a young boy who lives with his family, as well as his hateful grandmother.

In this story Jackie finds himself faced with the task of performing his first confession. He is very nervous about this, and his big sister Nora doesn’t help matters. She teases him telling him that he is a bad boy and that the priest may not be able to handle him, and that he will go straight to the bishop. We find our characters in the church as they wait to be called in to confess. There is much conflict here between our characters Jackie and Nora as she continues to tease him. The climax of the story occurs as Jackie is in the middle of telling the priest that he has a plot to kill his grandmother. The priest knows exactly how to take this telling him “Lots of fellows I saw kill their grandmothers but they all said “twas never worth it!” in the end Jackie only receives three Hail Marys, which of course he brags to his sister.

In my opinion the main idea of this story is to tell the reader that sometimes when we think something is scary, it really isn”t that bad at all. We learned this from little Jackie as he was horrified to confess to the priest but after he got talking the nervousness seemed to disappear. As a reader when I read over Jackie confessing to the priest I realize that however awful the truth is you must always tell it. Jackie wasn’t afraid to tell the priest the whole truth, when other children his age may have lied about it.

This short story has many literary devices. Frank O’ Connor uses a lot of irony and humour when Jackie is talking to the priest. We see this when Jackie tells the priest of his plot and the he just goes right along with him. “And what would you do with the body Jackie?” Another element of a short story here is setting and atmosphere. As Jackie enters into the confession booth the author creates a mysterious setting. Only to be interrupted by Jackie trying to climb up to see the hole. “Of course it was on the high side and not very deep, but I was good at climbing and managed to get up alright.” The last element of a short story that I found stood out was conflict. Jackie and Nora were constantly fighting which added to the confession of Jackie in the end, saying that he almost killed his sister once too. “ There you are! She said with a yelp of triumph, hurling me through the church door. And I hope he’ll give you the penitential psalms you dirty little caffler.”

In my opinion I really enjoyed reading about Jackie and his amusing first confession. I think that this story really taught me some things. I learned that if little Jackie can stand up to his fears, then so can I. No matter how awful the truth is you must always honour it and tell it. I really liked the way Frank O’ Connor developed his characters and his use of literary devices like conflict and atmosphere really helped to make this story amusing.

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  1. misty
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 4:50 am

    lyk ur essay… its great… i find it amusing.. Keep it up!

  2. Amber
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I believe the climax is when Nora hits Jackie, then the priest decides to side with him.
    Jackie’s main conflict is deciding whether to confess or not. He is fearful of confession because he believes that his sins are very bad. He is terrified that he will make a bad confession and go to hell.
    All of Jackie’s problems began with his grandmother. Because he is embarrassed by her uncivil manners, he has an urge to kill her. Because his sister, Nora, decides to side with his grandmother, Jackie is also in conflict with her. She doesn’t “tease” him, but rather torments him. Nora makes Jackie more fearful of confession by tormenting him by reminding him that he is very sinful. Mrs. Ryan also made Jackie more fearful of confession. Instead of teaching her students about how wonderful confession is, she creates a climate of dread.

  3. Balls
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    i thought it was balls.

  4. daniel
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    ageed mate

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