Topic: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Discuss.

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Suffering, sacrifice, perseverance.

What is innocence? Should the innocent suffer?
What is the difference between innocence and ignorance? Should the ignorant be made to suffer?

What is an appropriate, universal/moral, response to guilt and sorrow?
Given: no one is free from sin. Now what?

When one acknowledges their guilt, what next?



"Two wings of gray hair protruded on either side of her florid face, but her eyes, sky-blue, were as innocent and untouched by experience as they must have been when she was ten. "

"The further irony of all this was that in spite of her, he had turned out so well. In spite of going to only a third-rate college, he had, on his own initiative, come out with a first-rate education; in spite of growing up dominated by a small mind, he had ended up with a large one; in spite of all her foolish views, he was free of prejudice and unafraid to face facts. Most miraculous of all, instead of being blinded by love for her as she was for him, he had cut himself emotionally free of her and could see her with complete objectivity. He was not dominated by his mother."

"It gave him a certain satisfaction to see injustice in daily operation. "

"he had no cigarettes"

"He would have liked to teach her a lesson that would last her a while, but there seemed no way to continue the point."

"There was no reason for her to think she could always depend on him."

"Her feet in little pumps dangled like a child’s and did not quite reach the floor."

"He imagined .... He brought home a beautiful suspiciously Negroid woman"

"she thought little Negroes were on the whole cuter than little white children. She smiled at the little boy as he climbed on the seat."

"he had an uncomfortable sense of her innocence, but it lasted only a second before principle rescued him."

"Your punishment exactly fits your pettiness. This should teach you a permanent lesson."

"“I think he likes me,” Julian’s mother said, and smiled at the woman. It was the smile she used when she was being particularly gracious to an inferior. Julian saw everything lost. The lesson had rolled off her like rain on a roof."

"“No,” she murmured, “I want to give the little boy a nickel.”
“No!” Julian hissed. “No!”"
"You got exactly what you deserved"
"irregular rectangles of light"
"she found nothing familiar about him"
"You aren’t who you think you are"
"you’ve got to live in a new world and face a few realities for a change."
"He was looking into a face he had never seen before."
"his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow"

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Hats => Vanity ?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Julian's mother feels superior to African Americans. However, she really likes African American children and thinks that they are cuter than caucasian children. Why is this? Is it because of their innocence and pure intentions?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

jozeller wrote:

Julian's mother feels superior to African Americans. However, she really likes African American children and thinks that they are cuter than caucasian children. Why is this? Is it because of their innocence and pure intentions?

Her prejudice is a paradox, indeed. It is clear her judgements are not based on universal fact but on opinion(taste/preference/favor). There are several examples in the story where she is unaware of her own . . . hypocrisy.

Philosopher riddle: is colour an objective fact or a subjective opinion?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Julian appears to have good motives behind his actions and his support of African American civil rights is valiant. However, it seems at times that Julian's actions may be more to spite his mother than actually support civil rights. For example, "He would have liked to teach her a lesson that would last her a while, but there seemed no way to continue the point. The Negro refused to come out from behind his paper." This line indicates that the only reason Julian wanted to have a conversation with the African American man was to teach his mother a lesson and make her angry. Are Julian's actions just as prejudiced as his mother's? If so, does this make him a hypocrite?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Flannery O'Connor explores the role our personal values play in our life and the affect the perceptions we have of ourselves and our peers plays on these values.

How is this thesis statement? Is it even close to being okay?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

jozeller wrote:

Flannery O'Connor explores the role our personal values play in our life and the affect the perceptions we have of ourselves and our peers plays on these values.

How is this thesis statement? Is it even close to being okay?

Value? All of them or specifically 2-3?

Try selecting from Pillars of Character to help narrow down the list of values you'll argue.

What is "the affect the perceptions we have"? Effects generate a list - again narrow down the effects you'll discuss.

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

I am having a hard time finding materialistic ideas and imageries in this story other than the hat at lotto tickets are there any others?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

jozeller wrote:

Julian appears to have good motives behind his actions and his support of African American civil rights is valiant. However, it seems at times that Julian's actions may be more to spite his mother than actually support civil rights. For example, "He would have liked to teach her a lesson that would last her a while, but there seemed no way to continue the point. The Negro refused to come out from behind his paper." This line indicates that the only reason Julian wanted to have a conversation with the African American man was to teach his mother a lesson and make her angry. Are Julian's actions just as prejudiced as his mother's? If so, does this make him a hypocrite?

I think it does. He acts as if he cares about these African Americans while his mother is in his presence, ad he even thinks of bringing an African American home with him, as a friend. His intentions are clearly to use these innocent people to make his mother upset.

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Is this short story a modern, postmodern, or even hyper-modernism?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Flannery O'Connor evaluates (modern, postmodern, or even hyper-modernism) ideals writing, of vanity,  value, and cause and effect, to show the the reader how do deal with the disconnection between generations.


Thesis?

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

kdkrys wrote:

I am having a hard time finding materialistic ideas and imageries in this story other than the hat at lotto tickets are there any others?

Another materialistic image may be the Julian's grandfather's house on the plantation. The house is worn down and uninhabitable now. Julian blames his mother and thinks she "lost" the house and the family fortune for him. His motives appear to be more materialistic than he leads on.

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

jozeller wrote:
kdkrys wrote:

I am having a hard time finding materialistic ideas and imageries in this story other than the hat at lotto tickets are there any others?

Another materialistic image may be the Julian's grandfather's house on the plantation. The house is worn down and uninhabitable now. Julian blames his mother and thinks she "lost" the house and the family fortune for him. His motives appear to be more materialistic than he leads on.

Could the penny also fit in there somewhere?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

kdkrys wrote:

I am having a hard time finding materialistic ideas and imageries in this story other than the hat at lotto tickets are there any others?

Why not the imagery from the opening paragraph?

Where is she going that she needs to take the bus anyway?

What ideal contributes to her needing to lose weight?

"she said ladies did not tell their age or weight"
"the reducing class was one of her few pleasures, necessary for her health, and free"

The weight loss has a material cause, her illness - blood pressure. She attends the classes for more reasons that the vital, however.


And later in the story she "draws on her gloves". Julian wants to make money, and she praises him for it, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Classic Rome was the ultimate in hedonistic/materialism - Epicureanism.

Consider this image "if she had been an old hag who drank and screamed at him. He walked along, saturated in depression, as if in the midst of his martyrdom he had lost his faith." Look closely, she isn't the boozer, but he is drunk with depression - he is the epicurean but he delights in her despair.

She basks in the material reputation of her ancestors, "“Your grandfather was a prosperous land-owner". Meanwhile Julian is embarrassed when she produces only a penny for the child.

More material images:
"decayed mansion"
"the worn rugs and faded draperies"
"unloosened his tie and pulled it off and put it in his pocket"

I love the "icily" image in this exchange:
"“True culture is in the mind, the mind,” he said, and tapped his head, “the mind.”

“It’s in the heart,” she said, “and in how you do things and how you do things is because of who you are.”

“Nobody in the damn bus cares who you are.”

“I care who I am” she said icily."

There is a real complex discussion of the value of portraying ideals, even if one only pretends to have them.

And then "The lighted bus appeared" - society's "inner bubble"? The place of deep examination of conscience.

What about the Japanese fan "“Can it get any hotter?” she said and removed from her purse a folding fan, black with a Japanese scene on it, which she began to flutter before her."

She tricks him into obvious embarrassment when she brags that "He wants to write but he’s selling typewriters until he gets started". Then the other lady says "“Well that’s nice. Selling typewriters is close to writing. He can go right from one to the other.”"

And then the inner bubble stuff Julian describes. He wants to connect to the idea of rejecting material pleasure and examine one's conscience, but isn't this already occurring "out there" in the bus? Is guilt/sorrow/regret only an internal force, or is it delivered to us for some greater purpose beyond the material world?

and so on and so on.

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Consider Julian's adoption of a material/scientific(hint: modern)  "surgical" view: "he had cut himself emotionally free of her and could see her with complete objectivity."

The closure of the story is not without emotion, is explodes with it.

SO what has O'Connor to say about "modern objectivity" vs "unconditional love"?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Consider the satire(criticism of modern society), "He immediately unfolded a newspaper and obscured himself behind it. "

Oh, the briefcase is a material symbol, too. Something Marx would go after?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Material image: "a packet of matches." To start a fire... but he has no cigarette - teehee.(allusion to Freud)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Sigmund_Freud_LIFE.jpg

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Material image(another foreshadow of the stroke):

"Her eyes retained their battered look. Her face seemed to be unnaturally red, as if her blood pressure had risen. Julian allowed no glimmer of sympathy to show on his face."

Is God without sympathy for even the most despicable humans? How can Julian be without sympathy? Recall the tough lesson Mack had to learn about God's relationship to Missy's killer.

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Material image:

Consider the last image the mother sees of Caroline, her childhood nanny.

Nanny - a paid mother figure. But to a child is a nanny just parrt of the household staff? Or is Caroline more a stranger who offers unconditional love, care. How we experience love as a child should be how we experience love at the end.

Mack learned that too.

For those we have wronged and for those who have wronged us the mother echos a rule here, "“I’d do anything in the world for them and they’d. . .”"

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

kdkrys wrote:

Is this short story a modern, postmodern, or even hyper-modernism?

Well it is certainly a reaction to a variety of ideas. But let's focus on what I see as her attacks on these modern ideas:

Marx:
Class struggle, anti-capitalism - certainly. But O'Connor defends more sacred/universal ideas: forgiveness, mercy, unconditional love.

Feud:
Repressed sexual tension, sensual drives, persaonal fears, anxiety/complex/personality disorder - all there. But there is a force to the universe that calls her home in the end - a force that adds to his grief is greater than what he sees with his inner bubble.

Darwin:
Superiority, competition, race - the survival of the fittest ideas are there, too. But the facists/racist are made low, their ideas were once the majority, but one person can change everything. How could one person change Darwin's fit world dedicated to the pursuit of post-industrial leisure? We are much more complex that animals. Our spirit is real, immortal, from God, rising to converge with love. Darwin would see suffering/disease in what way? Unnecessary for survival, sacrifice is a weakness. How does O'Connor see suffering/disease? Strength, character, truth comes from great torment.

Neitzsche:
God is dead? Julian might say so, but why the sorrow. Why is the objectivity he claims to see the world with fail him in the grief of her death. Truth comes from within the individual's mind -existential jist. But the sorrow/regret Julian experiences comes from somewhere else, doesn't it?

Yes the big modern ideas we touched on in Profrock/Pound are there. And O'Connor goes after them defending the universal truths, the mysteries and human purpose to suffering and sacrifice. And like Mack in The Shack, God hasn't struck her down - as some have suggested - it was her time. But God allows us to sin, in doing so allows us to experience forgiveness, sorrow, grief, regret, love, too.

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

dsader wrote:

Consider the satire(criticism of modern society), "He immediately unfolded a newspaper and obscured himself behind it. "

Today the same scene would have the stranger on the bus hide behind ... cell phone? iPad?

Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

jozeller wrote:

Julian's mother feels superior to African Americans. However, she really likes African American children and thinks that they are cuter than caucasian children. Why is this? Is it because of their innocence and pure intentions?

She isn't complex, Julian diagnoses this accurately. Her racism, like all racism, is a choice, a fashion based on clear contradiction even hypocrisy. Objectively she is foolish. But her "truths" are born from intention that has awe for the innocence of children.(recall: Mack in The Shack learned something about himself from Missy.)

What are the truths that children teach the aged? Innocence trumps ignorance. But it all converges. She becomes a child in the closing paragraphs.

We are surrounded in paradox. Everywhere we look the world seems filled with suffering, sin, disease, poverty - and in the midst - a child delights in the pleasure of a penny from a stranger wearing a goofy hat.

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

dsader wrote:

Hats => Vanity ?

"At least I wont see my self coming and going" Julian's mother feels that her hat is one of a kind. When the black woman comes on the bus with the same hat Julian jumps on the idea. Flannery O'Conner uses this imagery to show the flaws with the materials of life.

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Re: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Flannery O'Connor explores in the story Everything That Rises Must Coverge that the struggle between material and racial differences is caused by traditional values of spirituality, tolerance, and equality.