Study Guide

Everything That Rises Must Converge Family

By Flannery O'Connor

Family

Julian did not like to consider all she did for him, but every Wednesday night he braced himself and took her. (3)

We're inside Julian's head here, and we can see that he isn't happy when he thinks about his mother's sacrifices. It makes him feel useless and dependent, and for a man (well, this man), that's about as insulting as it gets.

At that moment [Julian] could with pleasure have slapped [his mother] as he would have slapped a particularly obnoxious child […]. (73)

If only Dr. Phil had been around in the 60s, he would have asked Julian if he was nuts. And, he actually might be. Also, what's with Julian viewing his mom as a little girl, even though she's supporting him financially?

There was no reason for her to think she could always depend on him. (72)

Talk about a case of the delusionals! Julian is totally off when it comes to familial duty and support. For him, taking his mother to a Y class is a huge sacrifice. How about cooking, cleaning, working, and sending your kid to college?

"Mamma, Mamma!" (120)

Sometimes the simplest of words can say everything. This is the first time Julian calls his mother mamma, a term of endearment that sets him back to childhood and makes us realize how childish he actually is.

"Tell Caroline to come get me." (119)

Although Julian's mother is clearly not well, we think it's telling that she remembers and asks for her black nurse and not her mom or dad. Kind of messes with the whole idea that she's racist, huh? (Or does it?)

The other [eye] remained fixed on [Julian], raked his face again, found nothing, and closed. (120)

One of the last lines of the story, Julian's mother doesn't recognize her son anymore and it's quite possible that she may die. O'Connor leaves us with a masterful open ending, and we have to wonder—what is going to happen to this family?