Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O Connors

Published: 2021-09-29 12:55:03
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Category: Human Nature, Philosophy, Sociology

Type of paper: Essay

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In Flannery O"Connors" "Everything That Rises Must Converge", the character of Julian sees his mother as racist and narrow-minded due to her sheltered upbringing and lack of knowledge and education of the black struggle for equality. He feels that due to his education that he has a higher understanding of social structure and inequality that his mother lacks, and he loathes her for this reason. However, despite his higher education, he still depends on his mother for financial support even as a grown man, and has a repressed emotional dependency on her. This is the inner character conflict that Julian faces.
In reality, Julian is as facetious and narrow-minded as his mother, he simply refuses to come to terms with this harsh reality, and as a result he plays off his own inadequacies and shallowness on his mother, by criticizing her and having a negative and depressing view of her. He must come to terms with his repressed dependency on his mother and deep-seeded feelings of failure and personal inadequacy. Unfortunately, it takes the event of his mother"s stroke to realize that Julian must take care and depend on himself, and realize that he and his mother are almost identical in their social views and failures.
The first instance of Julian"s facetiousness is seen on the walk to the bus station with his mother on their way to her weight reducing class. His mother finds herself on the topic of the recent African American civil rights movement, and how she remembers when she lived in the south on a rich plantation with two hundred slaves. Julian tells her to stop talking about it, showing his non-racist and modern views, unlike his mother. However, he finds himself thinking of how the old plantation house must have looked before it became run down and abandoned, "Negroes were living in it.



But it remained in his mind as his mother had known it. It appeared in his dreams regularly"(O"Connor 1082). He fantasizes about the plantation mansion"s glory days, an obvious example of how his external behavior is different than his inner true feelings and wishes. As Booth illustrates, "what kind of man is it, we ask, who always belies his true feelings? His life is full of such contradictions"(1634). Julian lies to himself to cover his true self, that of a shallow failure. Then, after Julian and his mother get on the bus, a second instance of his inner-failure and true pathetic character is demonstrated.
Despite his supposed high education and writing talent, he depends on his mother for money and shelter, and sells typewriters. His mother is shown on the same parallel of facetiousness as she comments on the bus to another passenger, "He wants to write but he"s selling typewriters until he gets started . . .. I tell him that Rome wasn"t built in a day"(O"Conner 1084). Despite the obvious personal failure, despite a college education is denied internally by Julian and externally by his mother, playing off Julian"s failure as taking his time.
Julian pushes out his failure when put on the spot by entering a "mental bubble in which he established himself . . . From it he could see out and judge but in it was safe from any kind of penetration from without"(O"Connor 1084). Julian goes on to daydream about various scenarios that he could upset his mother by bringing an African-American into there lives, such as dating a black woman, further punctuating his false belief of racial equality using blacks as experiments.
A second instance of Julian"s repressed racism is seen when an African-American man enters the bus and Julian attempts to engage him in conversation to spite his mother, however, this action shows that Julian really does not view African Americans as people. Despite his assertions of social awareness, he views blacks as guinea pigs to be used to test his mother"s tolerance of his actions. When a second African-American enters the bus, this time a woman with a child, the final instance of Julian"s insecurities and dependencies is realized.
Upon exiting the bus Julian"s mother insists upon giving the African-American woman"s child a penny. This may be seen as a gesture of condescension, or that she thinks the black mother and child are poor, but in reality, it seems to simply be a friendly gesture she would do to any child, despite color. The black woman snaps in return, shouting at Julian"s mother that her child does not take money from anyone. This shock of rejection from an African-American causes her stroke, and in return, Julians epiphany.
After he realizes what has happened, he comes to terms with his failures and dependency, he discovers he truly loves his mother, he shouts, "Darling, sweetheart, wait! "(O"Connor 1091). He then enters a world of "guilt and sorrow"(O"Connor 1091). His previous thoughts that he had no emotional dependency on his mother, that he was superior to her, are shattered in his realization of his true self. His journey to self-identity is complete, and he must now care for at least his mother, but most importantly, himself.

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