author creates a struggling relationship between two main characters, Julian and his
mother. Through this relationship the author shows us how Julian and his mother use
racist tendencies in quite different ways to fulfill their interests and to contribute to the
theme of racism in the story.
In the story, Julian's mother is described as a woman from the "Old South" where racial
tendencies are acceptable and justified. Her son Julian, who grew into the "New South"
expectations is portrayed to be quite opposite of his mother in the beginning of the story
but his true side is shown when he tries to get back at his mother. "He imagined his mother lying desperately ill and him being able to secure only a Negro doctor for her" (p.342). Julian's mother states to Julian, "Your great-grandfather had a plantation and two hundred slaves" (p.336). Throughout their bus ride Julian's mother continues to brag about white people being superior to black people while Julian gets irritated and tries to find different ways to get back at her by adding to the theme of racism. As the story progresses we finally see that Julian and his mother are both racists, just in different ways. When the black lady enters the same bus as Julian and his mother it is like a punishment for Julian's mom. Julian's dark side is shown when he starts to view all the black people on the bus as items he can use against his mother. Julian's mother sees every black person on the bus as her slave while Julian struggles to cope with this and in return treats black people different than white people in order to punish his mother. He tries to start a foolish conversation with a Negro on the bus by asking "Do you have a light" (p.341) despite the fact that he does not smoke.
When the black woman enters the bus wearing the same hat as Julian's mother with her young son it becomes obvious to...