In society, tradition acts as the foundation for the treasured customs of every culture. Tradition plays a central role in two short stories: “First Confession,” written by Frank O’Connor, and “From Behind the Veil,” written by Dhu’l Nun Ayyoub. Following seven-year-old Jackie’s life in the Catholic faith, O’Connor portrays the main character’s struggle with the traditional ceremonies and values in his religion. In “From Behind the Veil,” Ayyoub explores the different meanings behind the Islamic custom of veiling in the eyes of Siham, a young Muslim girl. Originating from starkly different cultures, both “First Confession” and “From Behind the Veil” suggest that traditional beliefs may diminish in today’s society as a result of conflict with modern thinking.
By revealing the dark insincerity that sometimes lurks in faith, O’Connor conveys that superficial adherence to a religion leads to its decline in “First Confession.” The protagonist’s sister, Nora, represents one of the aforementioned superficial adherents, and David W. Madden brings attention to how “[Jackie’s] family cannot discern his sister’s obvious hypocrisy” (Madden). As a witness to how his sister’s religious semblance is only for show, Jackie feels the disconnect between truly upholding traditional values and playing pretend. After Nora cruelly teases him about his worries regarding the confessional, “[Jackie] remembered [the incident]...and wondered...[if] all religious people [were] like that” (O’Connor). O’Connor uses Nora’s act of keeping up appearances to show how her facade shakes Jackie’s faith. Depicted in how Jackie questions his family’s traditional values because of Nora, the disparity between one’s religious and one’s true self is evidence ...
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...heir characters’ ideologies, both stories demonstrate the way young adherents betray their traditions.
In many cases, children wish to be different from their parents, and they pursue their own ideals rather than following in their parents’ footsteps. Their thirst for freedom and independence normally stems from strict rules and teachings, leading the future generation to deviate from their elders’ age-old customs. Over time, with every new generation’s rejection, traditions may vanish.
Loud and eye-catching, twenty-first century culture can make traditions pale in comparison. Millennials set about life at a dizzyingly rapid pace, and sometimes, they go too fast to observe the finer aspects of traditional values. Although traditions may fade over time, if one takes time to appreciate them, one can see the vivid color they still retain from their rich history.
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