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The conflict of the plot may be variously described: punishment versus forgiveness, anger versus toleration, rigidity versus understanding, or the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. The complication begins simultaneously with the exposition, for we learn right from the beginning that the narrator has been subjected to "troubles" and pressures at home. One might make a case that the story presents a series of mounting crises—namely the family squabble, the fear of hell as described by Mrs. Ryan, the narrator’s hesitancy to go to confession, and the farcical actions in the church. The climax is the confession itself, which sets all the narrator’s apprehensions aside, and the dénouement is a genuine exodos, in which the narrator and his sister walk away from the church toward home.
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