Julian’s Racist Mother In O’connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge

623 words - 2 pages

Julian’s Racist Mother in O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge

She lifted the hat one more time and set it down slowly on her head. Two wings of gray hair protruded on either side of her florid face, but her eyes, sky-blue, were as innocent as they must have been when she was ten. Where it not that she was a widow who had struggled fiercely to feed and clothe and put him through school and who was supporting him still, “until he got on his feet,” she might have been a little girl that he had to take to town.

This passage was taken from “Everything That Rises Must Converge” and describes Julian’s mother, who remains nameless in the story. It particularly describes her face and hair, which make her sound, ironically, like an angel. Her gray hair sticks out around her face like the wings of an angel. Her blue eyes are innocent like a child’s, or an angel’s. The fact that she is described in angelic terms is ironic because of her very nature. While she is a good and decent woman to her some, she is condescendingly racist and stubbornly old-fashioned to the effect that it retards her ability to accept others. She is a very generous woman, and because of that, she feels that she can withstand some beneficial change. She helps her son financially, and therefore does not try to be more accepting, even though he asks her to be. She tries to give the black child a penny, and thus thinks that she is indeed acting more accommodating to race, but succeeds only in drawing attention to her antiquated notions of gentility. Thus the angelic description of her physical features is very ironic. Heavenly, and Christian images are seen throughout this short story, such as Julian being described as St. Sebastian, and Julian’s...

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