An our conscience. I must have broken the

An author will use a book’s title to give important information about the contents of the book to the reader which is one of the most important aspects of publishing a written work. Titles often carry several different intentions and themes concerning personal religious beliefs. In the short story First Confession, Frank O’Connor tells us the story of a boy who has to overcome and face his fears obtained from religious assumptions. O’Connor portrays Jackie overcoming the false custom of religion and fear of punishment through point of view, symbolism, and character. O’Connor starts by introducing Jackie through a first-person point of view which is essential to developing his emotions and thoughts as they are essential to developing his fear of punishment. It is very challenging to imagine the mind of a seven-year-old boy, so first-person point of view is a great asset to have when trying to gain an understanding of Jackie. “I lashed out at her with the bread knife, and after that she left me alone”(O’Connor 315). A first-person point of view of Jackie allows him to portray his fear of confession. This quote tells the audience that Jackie is a bashful child who is being forced into fear by his sister as he fights her for his life. Jackie then begins to contemplate about his sins and admits that he has broken all of the Ten Commandments, “but the worst of all was when she showed us how to examine our conscience. I must have broken the whole ten commandments” (O’Connor 316). By conveying how Jackie is scared to death of confession through this example, O’Connor gives the audience a tremendous understanding of Jackie’s actions and thoughts. If the author had chosen a different point of view, the intimate, detailed thoughts and emotions would have been almost impossible to articulate.O’Connor uses a candle as a symbol of hell that scares Jackie away from his first confession. “She lit a candle, then she asked were we afraid of holding one finger-only one finger! – in a little candle flame for five minutes and not afraid of burning all over in roasting hot furnaces for all eternity” (O’Connor 280). Mrs. Ryan attempts to frighten her students about committing sins and going to hell for it. The flame allows the reader to make a direct connection to hell. Mrs. Ryan’s introduction as a character appears to be exploring the theme of fear and innocence by O’Connor. Instead of paving the way for Jackie and his classmates to a loving God, she is negatively focused on the children’s innocence by brainwashing them into her way of thinking. Lastly, O’Connor uses Jackie’s body language to portray the fear he has toward his first confession. Before Jackie goes to confess, he tries to run away from his sister on their way to church as he is afraid of the punishments he might receive at church. “Lemme go! I said, trying to drag myself free of her. ‘I don’t want to go to confession at all'” (O’Connor 316). “I lost my grip, tumbled, and hit the door an unmerciful wallop before I found myself flat on my back in the middle of the aisle. The people who has been waiting stoop up with their mouths open” (O’Connor 317). Jackie actions prove that he is nervous and scared of confession even after entering the confessional with the priest. These actions reflect back on his character, portraying him as very frightened. Toward the end of the essay, Jackie and the priest become closer friends and his fears are eased by their shared conversation as they walk outside the church: “He had me there for a full ten minutes talking, and then walked out the chapel yard with me. I knew now I wouldn’t die in the night and come back, leaving marks on my mother’s furniture” (O’Connor 319). The priest then forgives him as Jackie realizes that he was not really serious about killing them, he was just very troubled and agitated.In Catholicism, the Sacrament of Penance is the method in which one confesses his or her sins through a priest. Most people are afraid of their first confession because they do not know what to expect from the priest. The priest is not there to lecture or scold you but rather show you God’s mercy. By using point of view, symbolism, and character, Frank O’Connor is able to portray Jackie as a fearful, young boy who is frightened that he will not be forgiven for his sins and therefore end up in hell. Jackie overcomes the stereotypes of false religious beliefs concerning sin, confession, and hell through facing his greatest fear: his first confession.