that often “O’Connor was, after all, nearly as contradictory as the Bible itself” (42). For example, the Grandmother is quick to invoke the name of Jesus, but it is perfectly clear that her religion is entirely of the lip- serving variety. “Maybe He didn’t raise the dead, she mutters in response to the Misfit’s outburst, for it hardly makes any difference to
her, one way or the other. She is concerned only with her survival in the midst of the blood-bath that has engulfed her family” (Bandy 8). In “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” O’Connor deals with the theme of racism and the emergence of black society. This story begins as Julian, a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer, takes his mother to the YMCA so that she can go to her weekly class to improve her health. Although the majority of this short story occurs aboard a seemingly mundane city bus, the dialog on the bus as well as the actions of the mother reveal much overt racism. In fact, much of the story is a contrast between the “old” racial ways of the mother and the educated ways of her son. The mother, who goes unnamed throughout the story, is unable to come to grips with the fact that slavery has indeed ended and that blacks and whites are now equals. The reader first experiences these feelings of the mother in the fourth sentence in the story. “She (the mother) would not ride the buses by herself at night since they had been integrated” (405). This sets the tone for the entire story. Before getting on the bus, the mother fondly tells Julian of their heritage. “Your great-grandfather was a former governor of this state,” she said. “Your grandfather was a prosperous landowner. Your grandfather was a Godhigh” (407). Noting makes her more proud than the fact she had a storied ancestry with over two hundred slaves and an enormous plantation home. The mother wishes she could return to these wonderful days, but instead she is forced to see quite the opposite. Upon getting on the bus, Julian deliberately sat down beside a black man to further upset his mother. He wanted to talk to the man about art or politics or anything intellectual to prove his mother wrong. “He (Julian) began to imagine various unlikely ways by which he could teach her (his mother) a lesson. He might make friends with some distinguished Negro professor or a lawyer and bring him home to spend the evening” (414). Julian clearly is more open-minded,
tolerant, and willing to embrace the emergent black culture than his mother. “The further irony of all this was that in spite of her, he had turned out so well. In spite of going to only a third-rate college, he had, on his own initiative, come out with a first rate education; in spite of growing up dominated by a small mind, he had ended up with a large one; in spite of all her foolish views, he was free of prejudice and unafraid to face facts” (412).
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