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Everything That Rises Must Converge

            Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge" depicts a mother-son relationship in which the conflict is never resolved, or even recognized. One of the reasons for this conflict is a difference in time. Mrs. Chestny is accustomed to the Old South traditions. Her son, Julian, is brought up during the New South era. He is very judgmental of his mother and somehow always tries to belittle her. There is not only a man vs. man conflict in the story, but also a man vs. self conflict. .
             Julian is a college graduate with a developed mind who has learned to acknowledge his surroundings, unlike his mother. He believes that he has identified with racism and that his mother should not feel threatened by Negroes. Julian tries to ignore the fact that his great-grandfather was a governor of the state and his grandfather a land and slave owner. The plot thickens when Julian accompanies his mom to her weight reducing class at the Y. Her doctor recommended this class due to her high blood pressure (O’Connor 406). .
             On the bus going to the Y, Mrs. Chestny sits by a thin, white woman with protruding teeth. Instantly she strikes up a conversation which leads to the topic of Blacks and Whites. Both are pleased that they are the only white people on the bus. This is the point where Julian withdraws himself into his inner compartment where he spends most of his time (O’Connor 410). This is the first sign that he has cut himself emotionally free from his mother and from society in general. Then a Negro passenger arrives on the bus which satisfies Julian. He then changes his seat to stare his mother in the eye as if a stranger. He wants to start up a conversation with the well dressed man in order to annoy his mother. He asks him for matches and then feels foolish after noticing a “no smoking” sign. The man continues on reading his paper showing no sign of interest in Julian.