Everything That Rises Must Converge Topics for Further Study
by Flannery O’Connor

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Do you think that O’Connor is too unsympathetic to her characters? Do they seem to you like grotesque distortions of humanity or more like regular people you’ve met? Support your opinion with specific passages from the text.

Many critics view O’Connor’s use of irony as integral to her moral outlook. Discuss her use of irony in relation to one of the moral questions raised in the story.

O’Connor wrote from a Roman Catholic perspective. Do you think that one needs to be Catholic to fully understand ‘‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’’? How do you think your own religious or spiritual beliefs (or the lack thereof) influence your response to the story?

Julian’s mother derives many of her opinions from her heritage as part of the slave-holding aristocracy of the pre-Civil War South. Do some research about the conventions and belief systems regarding interactions between blacks and whites in the Old South. How does this information help you understand the interactions between the story’s various characters?