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Everything that Rises

            Flannery O"Connor's "Everything that Rises Must Converge" tells the story of a middle-aged white lady, the descendant of an aristocratic slave-holding family in the deep south, that is on a journey to the YWCA to attend a "reducing class" that was recommended to lower her blood pressure. She insists that her son Julian, a quasi-intellectual, educated at "only a third-rate college", hypocritically consumed with disdain for his mother's racial bigotry, escort her to the Y on the recently integrated city bus after the Supreme Court ruling in December of 1956 to desegregate the buses of Montgomery, Alabama (Alabama Department of Archives and History 1). Julian's self-righteous egotism is changed into childish panic when his mother experiences a fatal stroke after being hit by a black woman whom she has insulted out of her misunderstood mixture of sentimentality and denigration. The theme of the story is that of the plague of social bigotry of the people of the South in the time of desegregation. O"Connor suggests to us, not only in the title but, throughout this short story that people often resist to growing away from egoism towards self-awareness and love for all humankind that is so necessary for life to converge in equality. Sub-themes focus on rebellion, the transition from the Old South into the New South, and destruction of false natures. .
             Julian hates his mother's racial narrow-mindedness and her attachment to her pretentious past. Mrs. Chestny is adamant that "you remain who you are" eluding to her grandfather's plantation and two-hundred slaves and she laments that the desegregation of the blacks has put "the bottom rail on the top." His mother personifies, to Julian, what he thinks he does not want to be. "His eyes were narrowed and through the indignation he had generated, he saw his mother across the aisle, purple-faced, shrunken to the dwarf-like proportions of her moral nature, sitting like a mummy beneath the ridiculous banner of her hat.

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