Everything That Rises Must Converge

by

Flannery O’Connor

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A recent college graduate who has returned home to live with his Mother while trying to launch a career as a writer. He is an idealistic, self-professed intellectual whose liberal values are at odds with his mother’s bigotry and the racist culture of his hometown. Julian’s moral compass is admirable, especially compared to the bald-faced racism surrounding him, but his interactions with black people suggest that he, too, has a fundamental discomfort with them. Julian’s struggle to balance his gratitude for his mother with his visceral resentment for her prejudiced ways and his desire to teach her a lesson animates the unfolding of the story.

Julian Quotes in Everything That Rises Must Converge

The Everything That Rises Must Converge quotes below are all either spoken by Julian or refer to Julian. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus, and Giroux edition of Everything That Rises Must Converge published in 1971.
Everything That Rises Must Converge Quotes

“You remain what you are,” she said. “Your great-grandfather had a plantation and two hundred slaves.”

“There are no more slaves,” he said irritably.

“They were better off when they were,” she said…“It’s ridiculous. It’s simply not realistic. They should rise, yes, but on their own side of the fence.”

Related Characters: Julian (speaker), Julian’s Mother (speaker)
Page Number: 408
Explanation and Analysis:

It appeared in his dreams regularly. He would stand on the wide porch, listening to the rustle of oak leaves, then wander through the high-ceilinged hall in to the parlor that opened onto it and gaze at the worn rugs and faded draperies. It occurred to him that it was he, not she, who could have appreciated it. He preferred its threadbare elegance to anything he could name and it was because of it that all the neighborhoods they had lived in had been a torment to him – whereas she had hardly known the difference.

Related Characters: Julian, Julian’s Mother
Page Number: 408
Explanation and Analysis:

He thrust his face toward her and hissed, “True culture is in the mind, the mind,” he said, and tapped his head, “the mind.”

“It’s in the heart,” she said, “and in how you do things and how you do things is because of who you are.”

Related Characters: Julian (speaker), Julian’s Mother (speaker)
Page Number: 409
Explanation and Analysis:

It gave him a certain satisfaction to see injustice in daily operation. It confirmed his view that with a few exceptions there was no one worth knowing within a radius of three hundred miles.

Related Characters: Julian, The Well-Dressed Black Man
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:

Then all at once she seemed to explode like a piece of machinery that had been given one ounce of pressure too much. Julian saw the black fist swing out with the red pocketbook. He shut his eyes and cringed as he heard the woman shout, “He don’t take nobody’s pennies!”

Related Characters: Julian, Carver’s Mother
Related Symbols: The Penny
Page Number: 418
Explanation and Analysis:

“What all this means,” he said, “is that the old world is gone. The old manners are obsolete and your graciousness is not worth a damn.” He thought bitterly of the house that had been lost for him. “You aren’t who you think you are,” he said.

Related Characters: Julian (speaker), Julian’s Mother
Page Number: 419
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

Related Characters: Julian, Julian’s Mother
Page Number: 420
Explanation and Analysis:
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Julian Character Timeline in Everything That Rises Must Converge

The timeline below shows where the character Julian appears in Everything That Rises Must Converge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Everything That Rises Must Converge
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian, a young man who has returned to his Southern hometown after graduating from college, is... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian’s Mother begins to lament the current state of society in the South. She believes that... (full context)
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
As they get closer to boarding the bus, Julian continues to sicken listening to his Mother’s vain and bigoted commentary. He begins to feel... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Julian and Julian’s Mother board the bus and sit together next to a thin woman with... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
While the women talk around him, Julian begins to retreat into his own mind in an attempt to relieve his frustrations. The... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
The bus makes another stop and a smartly-dressed black man boards. Julian watches his arrival with excitement, hoping to see this Well-Dressed Black Man faced with an... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian can no longer handle the situation around him and he decides that he needs to... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian fantasizes about having a highbrow conversation with the Well-Dressed Black Man to teach everyone a... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
...tamper with me,” and her dapper little boy, Carver. Carver takes the seat next to Julian’s Mother and Carver’s Mother takes the seat next to Julian, a circumstance which appears to... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Carver’s Mother orders Carver to leave his seat next to Julian’s Mother to come stand by her. Despite her racist leanings, Julian’s Mother finds children of... (full context)
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
...that the four of them are all getting off the bus at the same time, Julian has a terrible premonition that, after they depart the bus together, his Mother will try... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
As Carver and his Mother are walking away, Julian’s Mother calls out to Carver, runs after him, and offers him the penny, which shines... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian’s Mother lays motionless on the ground, a blank expression on her face. Julian manages to... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Reality vs. Perception Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian goes to grab his Mother’s arm, hoping to redirect her to a homebound bus, but... (full context)
Racism, Similarity, and Difference Theme Icon
Social Order and Disorder Theme Icon
Family Conflict and Generational Struggle Theme Icon
Julian begins to feel a “tide of darkness to be sweeping her from him.” At once,... (full context)