"Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB, September 1996

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In 'Everything That Rises Must Converge,' Flannery O'Connor used two fictional characters, Julian and his mothers, to contrast with each other on how they react to different changes that were taking place in their lives. From the outlook, the story took place in a time when slavery was outlawed in America and when black people were allowed to ride on bused with white people. As Julian and his mother had demonstrated in the story, the major change that was taking place during that period time was the changes in values and thoughts held by two generations of people.

In the story, Julian's mother was representative of the older school of thought in America- the black people were inferior to whites in capabilbties and social status. Ahe 'would not ride on the buses by herself at night since they had been integrated.' She had to ask her son to ride the bus with her.

Her worries of her safety when sharing buses with black people was indicative of her prejudiced feelings toward the black race in general. On the other hand, Julian, who had just graduated from college, represented the younger and more educated generation. To him, judging others based on their skin color was ignorant and racist. Different from his mother, Julian refused to see the neighborhood that they lived in as 'fashionable' as the way that his mother had perceived it to be. It was because in reality the neighborhood was poor. Times were changing and people were different. Black people could also be doctors, lawyers, and intellectuals; and yet Julian's mother still chose to remember the time when Julian's great-grandfather 'had a plantation and two hundred slaves.'

The characters' different attitudes toward changes were also reflected through their different responses to their encounter on the bus.