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Occonor Essay, Research Paper
Julian is the typical college graduate, establishing his independence while paying close attention to the world around him. He appears to be waiting for employment and he lives at home with his mother. Julian is obsessed with the idea of integration. A good example that the author uses to explain Julian is “Most miraculous of all, instead of being blinded by love for her (Julian?s Mother) as she was for him, he had cut himself emotionally free of her and could see her with complete objectivity.? This is all according to a short fictional story by Flannery O?Connor. But O?Connor?s characters offers more complicated attitudes than the obvious.
The short story “Everything That Rises Must Converge” tells the story of Julian, the main character and his thoughts and feelings toward his mother. It takes place in a city in the South soon after integration. The plot of the story revolves around a bus trip that Julian and his mother take. Once a week, Julian?s mother goes to the local Y for her “reducing” class. Julian accompanies her on the bus ride over and back because she is uncomfortable riding alone since the buses have been integrated. Flannery O?Connor takes us into these harsh times when blacks were fighting for their freedom. It is the times when the world was changing for the better for blacks and how the whites felt they were losing their power. In the story Julian finds difficulty dealing with his mother and her views of the world.
Being introduced first in the story is Julian?s mother. Her attitude and actions are best described when she sat forward and looked up and down the bus. It was half filled. Everybody was white. And her comment: ?I see we have the bus to ourselves.” This allows us to assume that Julian?s mother is prejudice, and was most likely raised in that time era. Julian?s mother was raised in a different atmosphere. It was all right to talk dirty about blacks and treat them like a second class. They were just nameless faces that no one cared about. Her high standing is even shown in her clothing. Years ago white women wore dresses, gloves, and big hats. They always appeared to be very proper, and Julian?s mother reflects this type of woman. Also, She glorifies the fact that her grandfather was a plantation owner with one hundred slaves and dismisses the plights of blacks by saying, “They should rise, yes, but on their own side of the fence”. She gets very agitated when Julian does not understand why he needs to wear a tie and he takes it off. She tells him he is embarrassing her because he looks like thug. She also does not want to show up for weight loss class without her hat and gloves. These actions were reserved exclusively for ladies when she was younger, however in today?s world it is not customary. She displays the extreme contrast of the generations and the old worldviews that enrage the son. In this story, the mother does not realize that the times are changing.
The typical New World parent-sibling relationship existed between the two main characters in the short story. The author depicts this relationship exceptionally. The generation gap that existed between Julian and his mother is out of the question. They were raised in different times. Their different views of the world start all the arguments that Julian and his mother get into. Julian?s mother takes tremendous pride in her heritage due to the fact that her ancestors were people who were once very highly respected. Julian?s mother is fixed to old worldviews that blacks and whites should be separated from each other, putting blacks at the bottom of the social ladder. This attitude most likely resulted from being taught to act this way all her life. But Julian is being raised in a time when blacks were finally able to be somebody. He thinks that his whole generation began to realize that we are all human, no matter what color. It was interpreted that Julian resented his mother for her beliefs and no longer wanted to be connected to her patronizing nature. The fact that she clings to her old values embarrasses him. Which leads him to want to teach her a lesson.
Julian experiences life and race relations completely different as opposed to his mother. He hate his mother?s prejudice, which he is why the bus ride is such a weight to him. Julian takes every opportunity of opposing her views because he finds her thoughtless remarks annoying. Julian drifts off into his own little world of thoughts at one point during the story, trying to think how to make his mother angry. He imagines his mother being very sick and only being able to get help from a black doctor. He also pictures bringing home a beautifully Negroid woman. He is disappointed when the only other people on the bus are white. When an African American does get on the bus, Julian deliberately finds an excuse to start a conversation with him in order to upset his mother. To Julian?s mother, this action is morally wrong. Another chance arrives soon when a large black woman, wearing a hat almost identical to the one that Julian?s mother has, and her young son get on the bus. The woman seats herself next to Julian, and the young boy takes the seat next to Julian?s mother.
This story depicts a lot of racial tension. The white women and black woman thought very poorly of the opposite race. An example of this is when the white woman on the bus moves to another seat when a black man gets on the bus and sits too close to her. Interestingly enough not only the whites are causing the racial tension in this story. The blacks play a big role in the racism too. As the big Negro woman gets on the bus, she surveys the seating arrangement as though not wanting to sit next to a white, but also not wanting to sit in the back of the bus. This action shows how she wants to use her right to sit in the front just to bother the white women.
Also Despite Julian urges toward Blacks, the black women sitting next to him on the bus annoy him. By this encounter, it clear that Julian himself has not fully embraced multiculturalism despite how much he wants to. Even though he thinks of himself as not being racial, he is deep inside. He only thinks about making friends with wealthy blacks. On the bus ride, he recalls his disappointment in finding out that one man he had an interesting conversation with was only an undertaker.
However, events take a turn that he doesn’t expect. The situation occurs in a showdown between Julian’s mother and a black woman wearing the same hat, when the mother tries to give a penny to the black lady?s child. In the incident, Julian’s mother suffers a stroke. Julian is at first is oblivious to what is happening. But he suddenly realizes how disabled his mother is, Julian is overwhelmed with heartbreak and fright, affirming his self-deceit.
In spite of her racism, Julian?s mother is not the monster that her son makes her out to be. She has made many sacrifices so he can have a better life. Her hard work and sacrifice have put her son through school. In fact, her son is her life. She sees him as a future novelist. She believed that because of her Julian was good-looking, intelligent, and had a future ahead of him. She made many sacrifices for her son. Although his mother had a strong influence on him, Julian recognized that his success was on his own initiative. It is Julian?s own selfishness that turns out to be the true destructive force in this story, not his mother?s prejudice. He has constructed a world in his mind in which he has risen above all the wrongs. Tremendous pride is felt because he has become able to judge his mother without the bother of having any kind of emotional attachment. The truth is that he has ignored his mother?s affection and is ungrateful for any sacrifice that she has made. He does not even recognize his own prejudice. Julian?s world of self-righteousness and his mother?s world of self-importance are shattered by the world of reality.
The main characters, Julian and his mother, never seem to understand each other and each one does not realize the others personal position on the times. Julian and his mother could have learned a great deal from each other. Julian?s mother could have taught him the hard work that she had done for him and Julian could have taught his mother what was the current state of the world they were living in. However because both are so stuck in their ways, they don?t to listen to each other and take learning experiences from each other. Julian had an absence of heart, which blatantly depicts his past, but when his mother dies, the love that he was unable to express comes out. In the end Julian surpassed his disliking for his mother and found a love he was unable to express in the past. Concluding all these is simply; don?t judge others until you have judged yourself. Julian is felt feeling guilty at the end of the story. It leaves the readers understanding reveals the biggest irony between the characters and of the whole story. The author shows the conflict between races, between generations, and how social superiority played a big role in the minds of white people.
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