Professor Tim Coone
14 February 2012
Race Relations in the South
Racial conflict in the American South has been a sensitive subject for many years. Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” has many symbolic attributes of these racial conflicts. The setting is mainly on a moving bus, in the 1960’s American South. The various characters interact with one another, revealing the tension, turmoil and racial relations that are happening during the era this story takes place. Some characters feel there is no need for change, while others think change is necessary for the equality of different races. Symbolism is used effectively in O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” through characters, setting, and characterization to highlight the broader conflict of race relations. The stories main character is a young, white man named Julian, whose relationship with his mother symbolizes the race conflict on a smaller scale. Julian believes that the world has changed and is completely different than it used to be. He thinks there should be a mutual agreement between races and everyone should get along and be treated equally. His mother, on the other hand, still sees a world where white people are the dominant race, and the Negroes are considered lower class individuals that should not get to ride on the same bus. Julian’s mother makes a comment on how they are amongst themselves today, referring to the fact that there are no Negroes on the bus. O’Connor states the reactions from Julian and the woman across the aisle: Julian cringes, and the woman with the red and white canvas sandals replies, “For a change, I came on the other day and they were thick as fleas, up front and all through” (443). Shortly after this conversation, a large black man gets on the bus. He is well dressed and carries a briefcase. He sits on the other end of the seat where the white woman with the red and white sandals is sitting. She immediately...
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