Analysis of “Everything That Rises Must Converge”
The title is an incredibly important part of any piece of writing, whether it be a poem, a novel, or a short story. It is an extremely condensed representation of the story, designed to attract a reader’s attention while also providing them with the basic knowledge of what the story will be like. Many authors and writers take this into consideration, and make their title as significant as possible. Flannery O’Connor was no exception to this when she wrote “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. Although this title does not create a clear perception of what the short story will be about, it does have deeper meanings and relates to major themes of the story; the inevitability of racial equality, and the idea that in desperate times hidden love is exposed.
It is important to first take a look at the title itself. Based upon an initial glance, the reader has absolutely no idea what the short story may entail. The title itself is a bit of a mystery, drawing the reader in, making them want to read the story in order to find out what it is about. The reader can assume from the use of the word “converge” within the title, that something within the story will come together, but any further inferences are only speculation. As the reader continues reading the story, it becomes clear that O’Connor does not speak merely of physical objects rising, but much more complex feelings and social standings.
Within her story, O’Connor immediately makes race a very important feature, distinguishing African Americans from Caucasians. Written in 1961, during the middle of the African American civil rights movement, the story was written to address the portrayed differences between individuals with varying skin colors. The short story revolves around segregation and the different viewpoints of various characters on it. The racial tension between Julian’s mother and the African Americans she comes into contact with is clear, and Julian’s mother is not the only one with hard feelings; another woman on the bus seems to agree with her that it is unpleasant to have the two races mixing. This feeling of racial tension is not absolute within the story, and that is where the racial equality theme comes into play.
Julian represents individuals that are willing to accept the advancement of the African American race in the current society, while his mother represents those that prefer to stick to more traditional values in which some races are inferior. Julian embraces the change; however, his mother rejects it. Within the story, it is both the Caucasian and the African American races that are rising, specifically the African Americans. They are not physically rising, but instead they are rising in the eyes of society, and in social standing. For centuries blacks were seen as inferior, and were treated as such. At the time the story takes place, people are beginning to realize the flaws in this thinking, and they begin to make...