) When an African-American gets on the bus, she says, "Now you see why I won't ride these buses by myself" (1096). Here, we see her racism. Furthermore, Julian is as racist as his mother is. When he believes he "could not forgive" (1095) her because she "enjoyed the struggle and that she thought she had won" (1095). He also bleieves he has an excellent education and an open mind, "free of prejudice and unafraid to face facts," and was not emotionally attached to his mother (1095). The truth is he judged people by their skin color and the clothes they wore. We read "tried to strike up an acquaintance on the bus with some of the better types" (1097) and started talking with a "distinuished-looking dark brown man" who, disappointingly, turned out to be an undertaker. Julian inherited his mother's racism but the sad thing is that she did not know she passed this behavior down to him and he did not realize he had inherited it. Honesty becomes an important theme in "Everything that Rises Must Converge." Race is the primary motivation in with the author focusing on social inequality in the politically volatile South. By turning attention to Julian and his mother, O'Connor successfully points out the depth of racism. When she offers the little boy a penny, she is demonstrating a racist theology, though she would deny it at all costs. However, she puts the child in his place when she does this and this patronization is clear to everyone but her. Julian is correct in telling her that "the old world is gone. The old manners are obsolete and your graciousness is not worth a damn," but even in this moment of truth, he is still blind to his own shortcomings. Julian hates his mother for all she represents but he cannot live without her. He secretly despises her but he cannot break away from her. He is malcontent and cynical but feels morally superior to everyone he encounters. His duty is to enlighten the less fortunate around him but his hypocrisy ruins his efforts. In addition, he is a mother's boy because he cannot separate himself from her. he still lives with her even though he is old enough to have his own place and certainly wise enough to have any job he wants. His weakness is appalling.
Both stories illustrate the complexity of the human psyche and man's innate ability to convince himself of something that is simply not true. As a society, we want to believe nice things about ourselves. "Everything that Rises Must Converge" reveals this faulty behavior and, as a result, surfaces as the superior of the two stories. Julian and his mother are not rare by any means. While their prejudices are personal, their behavior is not. We are all prejudice against something and the sad thing is that most of us will be blind to just how prejudice we are because we tell ourselves lies like the one Julian and his mother told themselves. O'Connor captures the delicate nature of man by showing readers how he lies to himself about many things. In many situations, lying is a form of self-preservation but in many others, it serves as a mechanism that leads to self-acceptance because the truth would literally kill.
O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry, and Drama. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, eds. New York: Longman. 1999.
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