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Motherly Love

Essay by review  •  October 28, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,521 Words (7 Pages)  •  902 Views

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Motherly Love

In the three stories we read by Flannery O'Connor; "The Comforts of Home", "Everything That Rises Must Converge", and "The Enduring Chill", the major relationship portrayed was between mothers and their hypersensitive sons. While all of the major characters, the sons, were noticeably similar, the lesser characters of the mothers were also very alike in many ways. Many of their views, gestures and outward qualities paralleled throughout the stories. After rereading all of the stories again I came to the realization that the mothers O'Connor wrote in her stories were variations of the same person.

One of the qualities that jump out first is that all three mothers are incredibly proud of their sons, even if they have no reason to be. Julian's mother loves to tell people how her "son finished college last year. He wants to write but he's selling typewriters until he gets started" (10). She does not care that he has not truly written anything, but that he has graduated college and that he is trying to get his life on track. She is constantly reminding him that "Rome wasn't built in a day" (11), and she truly believes this about her son; that eventually he will go places with his writing. Mrs. Fox, Asbury's mother, while not particularly glad that he is a writer, is proud that he is an artist and has every faith that her son "might be writing a long book" (90). While not as vocal about how she is proud of her son, she is happy that he is doing what he wants; writing. Thomas' mother was often found boasting about her son to Star Drake. In the two's first meeting, Thomas' mother tells Star that "Thomas writes historyÐ'... He's the president of the local Historical Society this year" (123). This statement alone proves that she is impressed by what her son does and what he has become in his life, otherwise I doubt his mother would have mentioned it. A lot of the pride these mothers have in their son's may be due to the fact that, except in the case of Asbury, they are only children to single mothers. Since they are all portrayed as older women, of course they will have pride in what their sons do, since they have little in their lives to boast about. Yet, it seems to me that these mothers feel their sons can do no wrong in life, which may be a cause of why their sons tend to walk all over them.

All three of the mothers also are connected by the fact that their sons have large biases in their minds about them. The boys feel that either their mother did not do a good enough job raising them or that she has disrupted the proper pace of their lives. This is apparent in all the boys but especially confusing in the case of Julian. At the beginning of the story he says "he could have stood his lot better if she [his mother] had been an old hag who drank and screamed at him" (5) yet later talks about how "there was no reason for her to think she could always depend on him" (14). While he feels that she raised him well, he does not want her to feel that he will be there for her like she seems to have been there for him. Asbury makes it very clear that he feels his mother was the unnerving force that lead to the demise of his life. Upon his death, he wanted his mother to read a letter her wrote to her about "what she had done to him" (91) but thought, "that his mother would not understand the letter at onceÐ'... he thought she would be able to see that he forgave her for all that she had done to him" (91). This statement, like Julian's is not truly supported in any way. It appears in both stories that the boys mothers did everything they possible could to give their children the best of life. Thomas, on the other hand, does not feel quite as much observable loathing to his mother and says that he "loved his mother. He loved her because it was his nature to do so, but there were times when he could not endure her love for him" (118). Unlike the other two, Thomas openly admitted his love to his mother, but still felt contempt when it came to Star Drake. All three of these men felt that their mother had in some way short changed them at some point in their lives; whether it be in the childhood like in Julian and Asbury's cases or in their adulthood, like for Thomas.

Innocence is also used to describe these three women, either directly or indirectly by O'Connor. This innocence of sorts was displayed to me in the way the looked or in their physical features. Julian's claimed that "were it not that she [his mother] was a widow who had struggled fiercely to feed and clothe himÐ'... she might have been a little girl that he had to take to town" (4), and that "her feet in little pumps dangled like a child's and did not quite touch the floor" (14). Her innocence is generally portrayed in her childlike size and to Julian,

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