Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O' Conner

Throughout this story several images and/or thoughts I thought were beautifully written and effective in showing the underlying issues between Julian and his mother. Also I found many areas where Flannery O' Conner demonstrated a lot of the crafts that Francine Prose described in Gesture.
The hatred that Julian feels during the majority of the story is blatant, "Everything that gave her pleasure was small and depressed him" (O' Conner 125). "...with determination to make himself completely numb during the time he would be sacrificed to her pleasure." (O' Conner 126). I felt that a lot of this hatred was coming from the obvious; he hated her ancient morals and standards, especially when it involved her opinions and actions towards African-Americans at the time, "...he saw his mother across the aisle, purple-faced, shrunken to the dwarf-like proportions of her moral nature...". Throughout the story Julian putt's his mother's 'moral nature' as his problem with her, but for me I felt like he was using her prejudice as a scapegoat for something that wasn't as obvious. Perhaps he uses this hatred because he See's something in her that he has in himself, maybe he sees what he knows he is going to be one day. Of course I can't know for sure, but in the end I feel like the author was working double-time when she ends the story with "The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow." This beautiful sentence I believe is saying two things: What seems to be the obvious to me, that he will forever live in regret to him cruelly taunting his mother before she dies, and then "The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her..." this just made me think of there is always this natural force, whether desired or undesired, that makes you apart of who you came from.
Also, I found that the craft techniques described by Francine Prose in talking about gestures in Gesture was well used by Flannery O' Conner when she builds the tension on the bus with movements and facial expressions between Julian's mother and the African American mother that sat across from her.


  1. Also noticed Jullian's depressive tone through out the story. By the description and actions of the mother I could see why. I felt the guilt and sorrow that you describe in this piece. Your mention of gesture was very much used in the story-telling.

  2. I agree; Julian has a good deal of hypocrisy in his actions, which only heightens the regret and guilt at the end.

    I hadn't really thought about how much of a role gesture played in this story to convey the emotions. Thank you for highlighting that - I had already forgotten to look for it.


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