On the left side:
The story takes place in Conn -- a town in western Ireland - during the 1980s. Conn is a rather conservative town with many farmers and shop owners. All of the conservatives are sitting on the right side during Sunday Mass while the principal character and nine other sinners are sitting on the left side. It is easy to see which part of the congregation Farther O'Rourke likes most, since electric heaters have been installed in the right side of the church. Farther O'Rourke is the one person who decides what should be done with the money collected for the church. Through the shop owners in Conn he squeezes a lot of money out of the inhabitants. Somehow paying every time you go shopping has become an unwritten law.
The narrator has little confidence in Farther O'Rourke since Farther O'Rourke had put her down in front of the whole town's population when she was pregnant. Though she had told him during a confession he had spread the news, so to speak. This shows us how he does not care about his job. The only thing he is interested in is how he want's things to be. Though Philomena O'Halloran does a good job he cannot forgive her having a baby by native African. This could be taken as a sign of racism from Farther O'Rourke's side. The only ones who seem to tolerate this are the "sinners" on the left side of the left side. After it has been revealed that Friday Mkete is the son of Philomena O'Halloran it is only the people sitting on the left side who keep collecting money for the Philomena mission. To me this looks as they are the only good-hearted people and that it is the people on the right side who are the actual sinners. The people sitting on the right side are simply doing what they are told to by Farther O'Rourke without thinking things through themselves. It looks as if religion is taken on very lightly by some of the people in Conn.
The story is taking place in the Irish town Conn. During Sunday Mass in the church the sinners are sitting on the left side, and the rest of the congregation is sitting on the right side. Farther O'Rourke, head of the church, has made sure to install heaters in the right side of the church were the respectable people are sitting.
Farther O'Rourke decides that a nun, Philomena O'Halloran, should be sent to Africa on a medical mission. This suggestion receives great backup from the people of Conn and money is collected to help Philomena on her mission.
A few years later Conn is visited by a man sent from Africa by Philomena. Farther O'Rourke is shocked, cause he has the same lineament as Philomena. It turns out that he is her daughter that makes some people quite upset.
On the next Sunday Mass Farther O'Rourke expresses how much he dislikes the situation, and from this day onwards there isn't collected any money for the mission by Farther O'Rourke and the congregation with exception of those sitting on the left side.
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