"Ungrateful Sons" in the Works of Flannery O'Connor

Essay by wamop5High School, 11th gradeA, February 2004

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Flannery O'Connor is a very interesting writer. She uses many special motifs in her writing. One of the most important motifs she uses is that of ungrateful sons. She creates several entertaining stories using this common human characteristic. The motif of ungrateful sons is most evident in Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Comforts of Home, and The Enduring Chill.

In Everything That Rises Must Converge, Julian would be a bum if it were not for his mom. Julian's mom could barely afford his college, but she struggled financially and emotionally and got him a "first rate education" at a "third rate college." Julian's mom could be living a lot more comfortably if she did not send Julian to college, or if he was not living off of her. Even after a college education, Julian still cannot get employed. Julian just lives in his mom's house and takes advantage of her labor.

One would think that Julian would be thankful since his mom is taking care of him, but instead he is ungrateful and does whatever he can to infuriate her. Julian cannot even "take her downtown on the bus for a reducing class at the Y." Julian claims that he would be too embarrassed to do it. That is not a valid excuse since most parents embarrass their children a lot worse than Julian's mom does. Julian's mom needs to reduce her "blood pressure" for her own health, but Julian seems unconcerned if his mother were to die early or not. On the bus Julian does whatever he can just to infuriate his mother. He has no reason to make her angry, except that she is not as smart as he. He wants to "bring home a beautiful suspiciously Negroid woman," and get a "Negro...