Little Jess and the Outrider

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In the ironical short story, “Little Jess and the Outrider” written by Jessamyn West, Little Jess has a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of situation. He thinks he is committing a sin but in actuality he is helping a wounded young man, Roy, live. Little Jess is a Methodist and is opposed to any kind of war, but living in a time of civil war his belief of who the enemy is, is shaken. He finds a young wounded confederate soldier; though he detests war but he loathes slavery more, hence the confederates are his adversaries. Unsure of what to do with the enemy soldier, Little Jess’s moral compass is tested. The young man tells Little Jess he owns no slaves and his perception of whom the enemy is alters. Even though he believes helping Roy is making him into a traitor, he continues because he likes the young soldier who never laughs at the wonderments and wishes Little Jess could never tell his older brothers. After Roy is healed and had left to travel back home, Little Jess feels as if his sins are going to make him combust. Thinking that if he goes to a Methodist meeting his sins will be washed away and he would be revived, Little Jess attendees the meeting only to just look in then leave. Upon arriving home, he sees his father pacing with no shoes on. Little Jess’s guilty feeling can no longer be contained; he confesses his ‘sins’ to his father. Jess, the dad, tells Little Jess he knew what he was doing and made sure the knife, which was given to Roy, was sharpen. After their heart-to-heart, Jess and Little Jess go and rinse their feet, metaphorically washing the secrets and sins away. When I lived in Ferndale a long time ago, there was a lost dog roaming around my home. So being the compassionate animal lover I am, I weighted the ramifications and still decided to capture the dog and bring it home, knowing full well that my mother would be disgruntled

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