Sister Aloysius accusation and unrelenting attack, that base on little evidence against Father Flynn raise doubt that she had some experience with abuse in the past. These accusations portrays the theme of doubt in the act where she admits to Father Flynn with the pained expression that she had some seen in the past, but she had confessed and forgiven. The Sister’s sin is never explored, which leaves doubt of what role this might have played in her certainty about Father Flynn’s guilt. Sister Aloysius later confesses of harboring doubts that Father Flynn was guilty. Doubt as a theme in the act is the price of Sister Aloysius actions and the burden for her conscience to bear. In Sister Aloysius repeated phrase, First sermon (2), she says that, “In the Pursuit of wrongdoing, one step away from God and of course, there is a price.” At the end, Sister Aloysius pays in her certainty, and her doubt becomes her confession.
Gossip is portrayed in the act when Father Flynn delivers a sermon in which he says that, “Gossip is like slashing a pillow on a rooftop, and once the feathers are on the wind they cannot be taken back” (Second sermon 3). Sister James later believes that, Father Flynn’s sermon aimed at her, but she is convinced that nothing happened. Sister Aloysius had already received some gossip about Father Flynn from a nun at his former school who told her something bad about him. Sister Aloysius later admits that the gossip was just but a lie in that she never did call the school.
A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew. She later had a dream that night, and a great hand appeared pointing down at her where she immediately felt a sense of guilt. Gossiping is portrayed as a sin in that when a pillow is cut open on the rooftop the feathers will be blown by the wind, which is seen as gossip. The woman could not tell a story of a man she hardly knew to a friend, and that is why Father Flynn referred to a pillow slashed on the rooftop, and the feathers blown by the wind in his sermon. This sermon portrays gossip as a theme in the act, which is explained as a sin. Father Flynn says that, “You ignorant, badly brought up female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed” (Second sermon 3).