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Thread: Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flanner O'Connor

  1. #1
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    Default Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flanner O'Connor



    I'm going to start reading this - anyone want to do a book club thing with me and read it too and discuss it as we go?

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    I'm not even through the first chapter - it is SO boring. I can see how maybe back in the day it might have been edgy, but so far it's preachy without any interesting main characters.

    Neither the protagonist, nor his mother are likable.

    So far it's about the son of a woman who remembers when her family had money but they don't now and they live in a poor neighborhood. It takes place in the late 50's early 60's during the civil rights movement when blacks were just starting to ride buses and some whites were chagrined. The mother is afraid and racist and the son holds contempt for his mother and attempts to befriend black people (who ignore him) just to stick it in her face - not because he sees them as interesting people he wants to befriend.

    I believe the main point came up already that the blacks were 'rising', but that most whites wanted them to rise in a segregated way instead of 'converging'.

    I hope there is a deeper meaning than just racism is bad, but so far, that's all it looks like.

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    So, I finished what I thought was going to be the first chapter - turns out this is a book of short stories. I purposefully didn't read the back cover or intro because I didn't want to be spoiled, but that makes what I was reading make more sense.

    There was one funny spot in the first story but the ending is confusing - it was meant to be shocking but it was only jarring because I don't understand what exactly happened or what the author's point was in it. I'm going to look it up on the internet to see if I can get some clarification.

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    Okay, so now I know what exactly happened, and it was close to what I thought, but I still am not sure why the author ended it that way...

    After reading a review on Goodreads by someone who read all the stories but had not seen the 6th season of Lost, I can see why they had Jacob reading this: Every short story is about characters who are stuck in some bad habit or belief that effects their life in a bad way and as they are attempting and struggling to 'rise' they run into other people along the way who are also, in their own messed up ways, rising and the converging is messy.

    On the island the Losties are given a second chance and are the challenges cause them to rise but also, through their experiences together, their interests and futures also begin to converge. "Live together or die alone"

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    Just found this video which puts together snippets from Jack's life on Lost and at the end has the quote that inspired the title of the first story in O'Flannery's collection that I just read and described.




    I think it does a great job of showing the rising of Jack and those around him and how they converged.

    The quote actually does a great job of describing what happened in the church.

    From wikipedia:

    The title Everything That Rises Must Converge refers to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the "Omega Point": "Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge."[3]
    Last edited by Delphina; 02-13-2015 at 09:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphina View Post
    I think it does a great job of showing the rising of Jack and those around him and how they converged. The quote actually does a great job of describing what happened in the church.
    Wow. That made me cry like a little baby. It really gets the point.

    I was going to write a whole bunch about Flannery O'Connor and this short story, but after that video, it's unnecessary.

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    Yeah, the person who put that together really got it well.

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    This second story entitled "Greenleaf" is also about the lower classes rising up; getting an education, marrying well, living in better housing, owning 'bulls' instead of just staying in their place as workers for the higher class and long time owners of the property.

    It's interesting because the woman chagrined over the rising of the "Greenleaf" family has two sons, one an intellectual and one a businessman, who care nothing for the farm and not only do not lift a finger to run it, they also don't have a clue of how to do it. So she is very upset that the two sons of the "Greenleaf" worker she employs will end up better off than her own.

    When she asks her eldest about learning to run the farm because when she dies he has to do it, he says that when she dies he plans on marrying a 'fat farm woman' to run it for him... implying that she'll be grateful to be married and not mind doing all the work herself.

    The woman is horrified that all her hard work to keep the farm nice and respectable will be destroyed when she dies.

    Not quite done with this one...

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    This second story entitled "Greenleaf" is also about the lower classes rising up; getting an education, marrying well, living in better housing, owning 'bulls' instead of just staying in their place as workers for the higher class and long time owners of the property.

    It's interesting because the woman chagrined over the rising of the "Greenleaf" family has two sons, one an intellectual and one a businessman, who care nothing for the farm and not only do not lift a finger to run it, they also don't have a clue of how to do it. So she is very upset that the two sons of the "Greenleaf" worker she employs will end up better off than her own.

    When she asks her eldest about learning to run the farm because when she dies he has to do it, he says that when she dies he plans on marrying a 'fat farm woman' to run it for him... implying that she'll be grateful to be married and not mind doing all the work herself.

    The woman is horrified that all her hard work to keep the farm nice and respectable will be destroyed when she dies.

    Not quite done with this one...

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    Greenleaf ended very poorly too - and it made no sense to me what the story was about or why it was written. What was her point? It was just some sad old woman angry at her situation trying to spite others and then spoiler> gets gored by a bull.


    Not much connection to Lost at all. This woman reminded me nothing of any of the characters in personality or decisions. I don't think the story inspired anything on the show.

    I'll keep reading...

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