Everything That Rises Must Converge
Everything That Rises Must Converge "Everything That Rises Must Converge" Summary
- We begin with a the news that Julian's mom needs to reduce.
- "Reduce" is a super-cute old-fashioned term for "lose weight." We're thinking about making that happen again; what do you say?
- Anyway, Julian's mother has to lose twenty pounds because of high blood pressure.
- Because he's such a good son (ha!), Julian takes her to the Y for her reducing class. You know, like Jazzercise but without the leotards.
- This Wednesday night he waits for her as she puts on her new hat in front of the mirror.
- Full of shopper's guilt, she debates whether or not she should have bought it.
- Ugh, mom. Julian tells her she was right to have bought it, even though he thinks it's hideous.
- We learn that Julian is a recent college grad currently living off of his mother.
- In pure Holden-esque form, Julian's disgusted by his neighborhood; though once a "fashionable" area it is now full of "bulbous liver-colored monstrosities of a uniform ugliness […]" (5).
- Mama J follows him outside while putting on her gloves.
- Julian looks sullen and depressed, and Mama J assumes it's because he hates the hat.
- Way to make it all about yourself, mom.
- Annoyed, Julian tells her "shut up and enjoy [the hat]" (13). Ouch!
- They walk to the bus stop, discussing light topics such as poverty and slavery; Julian's mother thinks blacks were better off as slaves and says they should "rise, yes, but on their own side of the fence" (24).
- Before a real argument can erupt, they reach the bus stop, with no bus in sight.
- As if possessed by the devil, Julian gets an "evil urge to break her spirit" (37).
- He does this by unloosening his tie and (gasp!) pulling it off.
- Mama J tells him he looks like a "thug."
- Julian's retort? He tells her that "true culture is in the mind, the mind" (43).
- She disagrees and tells him it's in the heart and that she knows who she is.
- In the nick of time the bus comes and Julian and his mother sit next to a woman with long yellow hair.
- Social butterfly that she is, the mother starts a conversation about the heat and how she's glad that they have the bus to themselves (i.e., no blacks).
- The women talk about their sons; Julian's mother reveals that he wants to write but for now he's selling typewriters.
- Julian retreats into his thoughts, grateful that "he was not dominated by his mother" (62).
- Keep telling yourself that, kid.
- Trouble begins when the bus stops and a large, well-dressed black man with a briefcase gets on.
- Julian's mother jabs Julian in the ribs and whispers "now you see why I don't ride on these buses by myself" (63).
- Oh yeah? Julian sits next to the man to get a rise out of his mother; to show her how open he is he asks the man for a … light.
- D'oh! Turns out there's no smoking on the bus … big fail for Julian.
- The bus stops again. This time a large black woman and her young son, Carver, get on.
- The woman sits next to Julian and the Carver sits next to Julian's mother.
- Julian realizes that the woman is wearing the exact same hat as his mother. Julian sees this as a gift from above, but he's sure she'll be mortified to see she has the same fashion taste as a black woman.
- Alas, Mama J notices, but is more interested in playing with Carver.
- Unfortunately, Carver's mother drags him away from Julian's mother, unimpressed by their fast friendship.
- Julian and Carver's mother pull the bus cord at the same time.
- As they step off, Julian's mother searches in her bag for a nickel to give Carver;
- Julian says something along the lines of, "uh, don't," but she doesn't listen.
- Instead of a nickel, she only has a penny and tries to hand it to cute little Carver.
- Unfortunately, a white woman giving a black boy money during integration is never a good idea. (Or, really, any time.)
- With the might of her fist and ginormous pocketbook, Carver's mother knocks Julian's mother to the ground.
- Instead of comforting his mom, Julian says, "you got exactly what you deserved" (104).
- Although Julian's mother stands up, she's very shaky.
- Always the preacher, Julian says, "the old world is gone. The old manners are obsolete and your graciousness is not worth a damn" (110).
- It isn't until Julian catches his mother's arm and looks at her face that he realizes something is wrong.
- Who does Mama J asks for? Grandpa (he's dead) and Caroline (her childhood nanny).
- Shocked, Julian lets her go and she falls to the pavement.
- Julian cries "Wait here, wait here!" (121) and runs off for help, leaving her alone.
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