Effective Use of the First Person in First Confession Essay

Effective Use of the First Person in First Confession Essay

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Effective Use of the First Person in First Confession        


"I decided that, between one thing and another, I must have broken the whole ten commandments, all on account of that old woman, and so far as I could see, so long as she remained in the house I had no hope of ever doing anything else," (page 189).

This quote from the text of "First Confession" by Frank O'Connor exquisitely shows which point of view O'Connor selected for his story. Frank O'Connor chose the first-person point of view to tell his tale. One can determine this by three factors: the use of the word "I", the use of grammatical voice and the use of conveying the story through the characters. These three techniques are shown vividly throughout O'Connor's novella.

The use of the word "I" in O'Connor's short story is in the text continuously with an unquestionable presence. A prime example of the usage of "I" in O'Connor's tale is first seen in the second paragraph as Jackie talks about his grandmother favoring Nora, his older sister, over him: "Nora, my sister, just sucked up to the old womanÖI was too honest, that was my trouble; and when I was playing around with Bill ConnellÖand saw my grandmother steering up the path with the jug of porter I was mortified. I made excuses not to let him into the house, because I could never be sure what she would be up to when we went in," (page 188). The application of the word "I" is an obvious and well-known method of the first-person point of view, as well as using another compatible method such as grammatical voice.

Grammatical voice is a conventional technique of guiding the reader through the story using a first-person point of view. This is a...

... middle of paper ...

...s. The reader is also shown that Jackie's mother dislikes her mother-in-law's mannerisms. This use of conveying the story through the characters is another method that is primarily used in first-person point of view, conventionally for its simplicity and advantage of giving several details in a short amount of time.

O'Connor shows first-person point of view unremittingly in the short story "First Confession." By his usage of the word "I," O'Connor announces to the reader that he is writing in first-person, by using the method of grammatical voice O'Connor shows another technique of writing in first-person and, intertwined with grammatical voice, his conveyance of the story through the characters is his last usage of writing in the first-person point of view. These three applications of writing give the reader a sure perception of O'Connor's point of view.


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