Flannery O’Connor is well-known American short-story writer who revealed religious and moral issues in her writings. She was a Southern writer and depicted the life and traditions of her region.
One of her best known stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, depicts an episode from life of several Southern people, focusing on mother and her son. To my mind, this story can be called quite autobiographic, to certain extent. Sometimes it is possible to see Flannery in Julian, since they both lost their fathers and they both lived with their mothers. Just as Julian, O’Connor lost her father who was really important and dear for her.
She of course, had some difficulties in understanding with her mother, just like ordinary child with her parent. This story reveals one of the main issues of that time; African American people became equal with white people. Admittedly, O’Connor’s “fiction reveals concern with outsiders” (Spivey 53) and this issue is clearly depicted in Everything That Rises Must Converge. She experienced a lot of events concerned with this problem, she lived in the South where this issue was of great importance, and thus she depicted what she saw around her.
This story reveals O’Connor’s own ideas about the whole problem. She is known to be highly religious as a person and as a writer, and in her writings she contemplates on the religious issues. But the story under consideration also depicts political changes in society which reveals the eternal religious issues: thus, progressive son is quite rude to his racist mother, and though O’Connor is opposite racism still she insists on the necessity to remain humanity in people relations (Bercovitch & Patell 347).
Thus, the story reveals not only O’Connor’s religious and political views, but encloses her whole seeing of the world. O’Connor expresses her reflections of life with the help of her writing, she depicts the main issues, she doesn’t only narrate but makes the necessary stresses, that is why her characters’ “fictional qualities lean away from typical social patterns, toward mystery and the unexpected” (O’Connor 40). She shows the necessity to remain wise and tolerant to everyone and everything. She also stresses that it is important to live each second of our lives expressing love toward our parents, since people are not everlasting and it is possible to fail to express one’s love, just like Julian was irritated with his mother all their trip long, demonstrating that discontent, and in few seconds lost his mother forever.
To my mind, the writer witnessed these feeling when she lost her father, I think, even when she knew her father can die soon, she wanted to express her love to her father, but I think she couldn’t do it as much as she wanted to. Another very important thing that influenced her writing and the story under consideration in particular was her awareness of her illness and close death. This knowledge made O’Connor feel the things better let her omit all the unnecessary things and come to the essence of the matter.
It is worth of mentioning that “most interesting characters listen to something inside themselves” and the majority of these characters find Catholic visions in their minds (Whitt 9). This vision prevails in O’Connor and this is what she intends to present to her readers, this is what she wants the readers adhere.
, Patell C.R.K.
The Cambridge History of American Literature: Prose writing, 1940-1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. O’Connor, F. Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969.
Spivey T.R. Flannery O’Connor: The Woman, the Thinker, the Visionary. Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1997. Whitt, M.
E. Understanding Flannery O’Connor. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1997.