Character Sketch of Julian’s Mother in Everything That Rises Must Converge

Julian’s Mother, Mrs. Chestny, is the epitome of old southern gentility possessing racist undertones while maintaining social decorum. Being a middle-aged woman, she relies on her son and has made numerous sacrifices for his education and upbringing. It is more of her affection towards Julian than fear of integration that she wants him to accompany her to the weight management classes.

Her condescending attitude towards the Blacks is a product of her fear arising from the integration of the Blacks in the mainstream White society. She is of the view that the Blacks must rise but within their own fence. Her outdated perception of the society and the ideas of racial inequality are formed by her upbringing. She harbors the social decorum of her class which prompts her to give Carver a penny without really comprehending the racist undertone of the act.

Julian’s mother is hinged back to her past and constantly longs for her old family lineage. She often fantasizes about the past glory and draws her happiness from them but irritates Julian in the process. Ironically, in the climax of the story, she is pushed further back to her past. After being hit by the Black woman, she goes into shock and finds herself trapped in the past. She asks Julian to call his grandfather and nurse both of whom she associates with security and comfort but both are long dead.

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