One might understand the words of the mother and son in ironic
relation to the title of the story, which is also the tile of the
collection of short stories in which it was published.
Following this direction of interpretation, the mother “rises” to
childhood innocence as she descends into death; however, the son,
though speaking in the language of a child’s love for his mother,
does not rise, but rather remains in a quagmire below his mother,
knowing he loved her but will not be able to demonstrate that to
her. One critic puts it this way: “What is left after [the
mother’s] stroke is certainly a very immature soul, but one
relieved of accumulated error. Meanwhile, her son is forced into
the world of guilt and sorrow where he might [only might]
outgrow his selfishness and accept responsibility for his destiny.
This possibility for growth is all that O’Connor usually allows to
her sadly human protagonists. She does not concern herself with
saints.” Following this reason, mother and son do not
converge at the moment of the conclusion but remain as sadly apart
as they have been throughout the story. Convergence, which is
harmony and unity, is only a possibility, not a fact.