Everything That Rises Must Converge has ratings and reviews. Paquita Maria said: Sometimes Flannery O’Connor feels like a verbally abusive b . I assigned my students ‘Everything that Rises Must Converge’ before actually having read it myself because it was the only Flannery O’Connor. “Everything That Rises Must Converge” is a story of mothers and sons on both sides of the black/white divide. Written in , it won Flannery O’Connor the.

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In the story was published in her well-regarded short fiction collection Everything That Rises Must Converge.

The story exemplifies her ability to expose human weakness and explore important moral questions through everyday situations. The story describes the events surrounding a fateful bus trip that an arrogant young man takes with his bigoted mother.

The tensions in their relationship come to a head when a black mother and son board the same bus. She was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, which was an anomaly in the American South. She then attended the Georgia Flannnery College for Women, where she social sciences and had an avid interesting in cartooning.

In she moved to New York City. Later she lived for a time with the literary couple Robert and Sally Fitzgerald and worked on her first novel, Wise Blood, in their Connecticut home before falling ill with lupus in After her diagnosis, she returned to Milledgville for good.

Accompanied by her mother, she moved to a dairy farm called Andalusia on the outskirts of town. She was the recipient of a number of fellowships and was a two-time winner of the prestigious O. Henry Award for short fiction.

Everything That Rises Must Converge |

Her treatments had painful side effects and, in combination with the lupus, softened the bones in her hips so that she required crutches. When her health allowed, she gave readings and lectures and entertained. Despite constant discomfort, she continued to write fiction until her health failed. Julian dreads the trips, but feels obligated to do as she wishes. She implies that it does not matter that she is poor because she comes from a well-known and once prosperous family of the pre- Civil War South.

He deals with his embarrassment by detaching himself from the action; in this state, he considers his mother objectively. He thinks about the sacrifices she has made for him, yet feels superior to her racist and old-fashioned ideas, including her pride in the past.

A black man gets on the bus. Julian moves across the aisle in convegre to sit next to him, which he knows will bother his mother. Wishing to seem sympathetic, he attempts to strike up a conversation with the disinterested man. At the next stop a black woman and her young son board the bus. Taking the only seats available, the woman sits next to Julian and the boy sits next to his mother. The black woman reprimands her son and, when a seat becomes available, moves him next to her.

The four of them get off the bus at the same stop. Julian tries to stop his mother from giving the little boy a penny, but she tries to do it anyway. Julian tells his mother that she got what she deserved.

She appears confused and initially declines his offer to help her up.

The old manners and your graciousness is not worth a damn. She everytbing for her Grandpa, then for her childhood nurse, Caroline. Julian looks at her face, finally realizing that she is having a stroke.

He goes for help but knows that it is too late. Carver is the little African American boy who boards the bus with his mother.


She finds him cute and regains her composure by joking with him playfully. She offers everythinb a penny in what she thinks of as a gesture of ocnnor. An African American woman gets on the bus with her young son and is forced to take a seat next to Julian.

The story focuses on his conflicted relationship with his mother and his rejection of her old-fashioned, racist ideology. Although grateful for her financial and emotional support, Julian is proud of himself for being able to see her objectively and not flabnery himself to be dominated by her. The issue of race relations triggers a major conflict between mother and son. Descended from a respected, wealthy family, she is now virtually impoverished. Almost every dollar she has goes to her beloved son, Julian; this financial support has allowed him to complete college and attempt a life as a writer.

Yet she vonnor on to her ideas of gentility and graciousness; after all, that is the way a Southern lady would act. On an integrated bus, he forces her to address her prejudices, hoping to teach her a lesson about race relations, justice, and the modern world. When the stress of bearing evefything antagonism is exacerbated by a physical attack, she has a stroke. Julian sits next to a well-dressed, African American man in order to make a point about his own views on racial integration and to antagonize his mother.

Julian asks the man for a light, wishing to strike up a conversation. The man has no interest in talking to him.

Her family name is central to her identity, reinforcing her belief in her value as a human being and her superiority to those around her.

She is fiercely loyal to those whom she identifies as part of her proud tradition, especially her son. In her eyes, upholding her duty to her family and her family name is the key to goodness. He dismisses her notions of proper conduct as part of an old social order that is not only immoral, but also irrelevant. Julian believes that by sitting next to the African American man on the bus, he is teaching his mother a valuable moral lesson.

He considers his views on integration liberal and progressive, but they turn out to be merely an attempt to punish his mother. The events of the story reveal him to be blinded by self-centeredness, arrogance, and resentment. Julian considers himself intellectually superior to those around him. However, the ironic narration reveals Julian to be the most self-deceiving character in the story.

His liberal views on race relations have more to do with a desire to lash out at her than they do with being open-minded or tolerant. When he realizes that she is dying he experiences the first moment of true understanding described in the story. While Julian believes himself to be perfectly objective, the events are described in terms of his emotionally charged relationship with his mother.

Irony refers to the difference or imbalance between the surface meaning of the words and the effects that they create. Throughout the story Julian wishes evil on his mother and tries to punish her by pushing his liberal views on her.

When the stress of the bus trip leads to a stroke, his wish comes true. Ironically, this leads him to recognize his own weakness rather than revealing hers.

Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories

He wanted to teach her a lesson, but he ends up learning one himself. She wrote from an orthodox Catholic perspective about a secular and profane world and, thus, saw it as her calling to portray sin in no uncertain terms. They are drawn more extravagantly, she would admit, but she claimed that this was necessary because of our depravity: It also illustrates how far African Americans have risen in American society. The generation gap between Julian and his mother manifests itself through their disagreement over race relations, an issue that was a pressing part of public discourse in the early s.


In fact, for the first half of the twentieth century, blacks and whites used separate facilities: In the aftermath of this decision, African Americans won the right to share public transportation with whites in a number of Southern cities. Such actions spurred the burgeoning Civil Rights Movementwhich would lead to important social and legislative changes over the next decade.

In a book called The Phenomenon of Manwhich attempts to reconcile the science of evolution with a Christian vision, Teilhard theorizes that after the rise of homo sapiens evolution continues on a spiritual level toward a level of pure consciousness called Being.

While species diversified biologically until humans came to dominate the earth, evolution began to take the form of rising consciousness and led back toward unification or convergence.

At the end of time, all Beings will be as one in God. Julian is negatively affected by his pride, arrogance, and anger. Yet when his mother dies, he recognizes the evil he has done.

That this rising is inevitably painful does not discredit its validity; rather, it emphasizes She was the subject of an unusual amount of critical attention as a young writer, and this fascination has continued over the decades since her death. A special issue of the journal Critique was devoted entirely to her writing in Early approaches to her fiction tended to focus on the grotesque extremes of her characterization and the bleak violence of her plots. As she responded to early interpretations with explicit explanations of her beliefs about art and faith in various lectures and essays collected in under the title Mystery and Manners: They are superb, and they are terrible.

She took a cold, hard look at human beings, and set down with marvelous precision what she saw.

Everything That Rises Must Converge

He praised her for doing what she does superbly:. What are the possibilities for hope? How much can man endure? Critical attention to her work continues. The way she expressed her Roman Catholic faith remained a subject of fascination and debate for scholars. Her literary influences have been discussed, as well as her place within the Southern Gothic regional tradition. It was her intention that her stories should shock, that they should bring the reader to encounter a vision he could face with difficulty or outright repugnance.

And she wanted her vision not only to be seen for what it was but also to be taken seriously. She was confident enough of her artistic powers to believe this would happen, even if it took fifty or a hundred years. Madsen Hardy has a doctorate in English literature and is a freelance writer and editor. Their differences come to a head during a ride they take together on a recently integrated city bus. The questions the story raises are obviously moral, but how they relate specifically to Christian theology is not immediately apparent.

The story contains a few passing mentions of heaven and sin, but these words are not used in a serious theological sense. It seems that the few references to Christianity are largely emptied of meaning. Teilhard offers a Catholic version of the science of evolution, theorizing that lower life forms evolved toward greater diversity and complexity, rising to the level of man, who exists at the midpoint between animal life and God.