Posted: November 30th, 2013
Summary of the first confession
The First Confession is a short story that talks about the experiences of a young boy, his family and the different events that shape his environment. The story begins with Jackie’s grandmother moving in to live with them at their home. The arrival of their grandmother is welcomed differently by the family members. While his mother was skeptical of her arrival, his father and sister, Nora was particularly fond and supportive of the old woman’s arrival. Jackie, on the other hand, did not like his grandmother’s attitude and behavior. She had a peculiar habit of going about life as if she was still in the countryside that included her unusual diet of potatoes and porter. Jackie was particularly averse to her cooking that landed him in trouble with his father.
One event that made Jackie very apprehensive was the confession and communion. It was his first time, therefore; he was rather taken aback by Ryan, the old woman who administered the confessions. Ryan was almost as old as his grandmother was and had a great liking for preparing children for confession by dishing out stories about hell. Some of Ryan’s stories included one that involved a priest who was visited in his sleep by a man who did not confess all his sins. The man was regretfully asking the priest for another chance before he was suddenly sucked into hell before he could do so. Mrs. Ryan also gave the children daunting tasks such as displaying the intensity of the fire in hell by daring the children to hold their fingers over a candle flame.
Mrs. Ryan also had a conscience exercise where she subjected all the children to the best ways of examining their inner selves. After this exercise, Jackie felt extremely guilty about all the things she had done to her grandmother. As much as these tactics were horrifying, they were also efficient in changing the children’s attitudes towards being truthful in the confessions. Jackie, therefore, tried to evade confession but Mrs. Ryan was particularly keen on all the children attending it so she sent for Jackie along with all the other children. On the way to the church, Nora tormented and criticized her for her bad behavior. Nora went in for confession before Jackie and soon enough came out in a pretentious holy pose. When it was Jackie’s turn, he entered the confession box and immediately became very confused.
Jackie made a mistake and climbed on the shelf above the conversation window. When the priest slid back the window, he caught sight of Jackie dropping from the shelf that made him burst in a fit of angry questions over what Jackie was doing on the shelf. The question startled Jackie, and he fell flat on the church aisle outside the box. Nora then rushed and hit him in full view of the priest and the other church members. The priest stopped Nora from spanking Jackie and sent her away. The priest then told Jackie to wait for the other members to finish their confessions, as it was his first time that made him somewhat happier.
Soon enough the priest called Jackie into confession. Jackie started on the issue of his grandmother whom he described as awful and evil. Jackie told the priest how his grandmother had favored his sister over him and how his father sided with the old woman. Jackie also revealed his plot to kill his grandmother and cut her into little pieces, as well as trying to kill his sister Nora by stabbing her with a bread knife. These confessions of murder surprised the priest especially because they were emanating from a very young boy. The priest, after hearing Jackie’s confessions, informed him of his wrongdoing and that if he did those wrong things, he would end up being hanged by the state. After ten minutes, they both left the confession box and walked up to the churchyard where the priest gave Jackie a couple of Bullseyes on which to suck. Nora immediately inquired what Jackie had not confessed to the priest. Jackie replied that he had said everything that he had though of doing or had done. Jackie then told her than he had only been given three Hail Marys that irked Nora even more. In the end, even Nora regretted trying to pretend she was very well behaved and good.
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