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What Comes Around Goes Around Essay

1043 words - 4 pages

What Goes Around Come Around In the story "First Confession," Frank O'Connor uses many methods of writing to convey his ideas about the first confession and communion of a young 7-year-old boy named Jackie. There is a great deal of conflict between Jackie and the other members of his family, especially Ryan and his sister Nora. The religious people around him convinced him that he was a sinner and gave him a horrible fear of hell and confession. In the end, Jackie would learn that he was better than the rest and that he wasn't all that bad after all. By studying all of the author's different ways of conveying ideas, one can try and understand the overall theme of the story. The theme in this story is that truth is always the best policy, good will come out of honesty in the end; and those who are not honest will pay for it in the long run, showing that what comes around goes around.Throughout the story, "First Confession," O'Connor uses Jackie as the first-person narrator, which helps build up to the theme. "First-person narrators or speakers frequently express ideas along with their depiction of actions and situations, and they also make statements from which you can make inferences about ideas" (467). Jackie expresses his fear of hell and confession, which was instilled in him by an old woman named Ryan and his sister Nora. Ryan was a woman who was most likely a sister, since she wore a black cloak and bonnet. She would go to Jackie's school everyday to prepare the students for confession and communion. Ryan frequently spoke of hell, barely mentioning heaven; and if she did it was probably by accident, "for hell had the first place in her heart" (361). Jackie described an incident where she would light a candle, taking out a half-crown (British money), and offer it to the first boy who would hold one finger in the fire for 5 minutes. She would ask the boys if they were afraid of holding one finger in a candle flame "and not afraid of burning all over in roasting hot furnaces for all eternity" (361). Jackie always paid close attention to the half-crown, and how she always put it back in her purse at the end of each lesson. He expressed that this "was a great disappointment; a religious woman like that, you wouldn't think she'd bother about a thing like a half-crown" (361). Statements made by different characters and their actions in a story, such as Nora's above, help us get an idea of what the theme of a story is.Characters also express their own views, in many stories; they "may be right or wrong, admirable or contemptible" (468). "Characters and their actions may often be equated with certain ideas and values" (468). Ryan expressed a story of what happens to people who have a bad confession, where a priest burned furniture after a bad confession. This story made a shocking impression on Jackie, which made him feel that if he had a bad confession he would...

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