Is Con same as deacon?


Senior Member
Dear friends
Please kindly tell me if ''Con" in the following context, taken from "The Camera Eye (11), ''The 42nd Parallel", "USA" by John Dos Passos, is ''deacon'' or what:
(as most of you know, there's no punctuation in ''The Camera Eyes" of Dos Passos)
the Pennypakers went to the Presbyterian church and the Pennypacker girls sang chilly shrill soprano in the choir and everybody was greeted when they went into church and outside the summer leaves on the trees wigwagged greenblueyellow through windows and we all filed into the pew and I'd asked Mr. Pennypacker he was a deacon in the church who were the Molly Maguires?...
and before I knew it was communion and I wanted to say I hadn't been baptized but all eyes looked shut up when I started to whisper to Con
Communion was grape juice in little glasses and little squares of stale bread and you had to gulp the bread and put your handkerchief over your mouth and look holy ...
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Karoba. I don't think Con is referring to the deacon no. For a start it has a capital letter and no article (i.e. it's not to whisper to the con), and I've never heard of the word deacon being abbreviated to con ~ if I was going to abbreviate it, I'd use deac or deak.
    Is there a character in the book called Conrad? or Constance? ~ it looks very much like an abbreviated first name to me.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, I agree with Ewie. The narrator went to a Catholic church with her friends. She wasn't used to the rituals, so she (or he?) started to ask her friend "Con" (Constance?) what she should do.


    Senior Member
    Dear Cagey
    Dear Ewie
    As you know the Camera Eyes contain in fact autobiographic elements from Dos Passos's own life. I'm afraid it refers to no previous name otherwise I would have certainly noted that.
    Tnks anyway and cheers
    Yes, I agree with Ewie. The narrator went to a Catholic church with her friends.
    No, the narrator did NOT go to a Catholic Church; the church in question is a Presbyterian Church. This communion ritural does not resemble a Catholic one, and the denomination is clearly indicated, so the confusion is surprising. Furthermore, considering the place (Pennsylvania mine country, where the Presbyterian church would be the church of mine owners and managers) and the thought going through the narrator's mind relating to the Mollie Maguires (who were supposedly Irish Catholic miners), thinking that Presbyterians and Catholics are identical really loses the point.

    Con is the name of the person sitting next to the person described. That person wants to ask if the Presbyterian church would object if someone unbaptized took communion (in fact, they would have), but takes it anyway in order to blend in.