Everything That Rises Must Converge. Examining South Gothic Elements in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Fiction . Flannery O’Connor. Philosophy on Storytelling. “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” .
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Examining South Gothic Elements in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Fiction
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.”
Southern writer; born in Georgia in 1925, died 1964
Southern Gothic writer (along with Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, etc.)
Devout Roman Catholic
Her work (2 novels and 32 short stories) centers largely on issues of morality and ethics.
Battled lupus for much of her life; died at 39 years old.
Her final collection Everything That Rises Must Converge was published posthumously (after her death)
Employs the use of irony and the “grotesque” to examine the values of the American South.
Uses the gothic tools not solely for the sake of suspense but also for didacticism
Seeks to explore social issues such as racism, classism, and religious hypocrisy in order to reveal the cultural character of the American South.
“Grotesque” refers to the comically or repulsively ugly or distortedcharacters, events, or settings.
Apparent in O’Connor’s characters, who are usually morally flawed in some way that makes them “ugly”
Also evident in the disturbing and often violent things that happen to these characters
Uses irony for didactic purposes; to teach her characters lessons and reform their thinking and behavior
By the end of her stories, usually there is a character who transforms as a result of something painful and disturbing
“Grace changes us and change is painful.”
What the character knows is called into question in an uncomfortable way.
The title Everything That Rises Must Converge refers to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"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.”
Write 1-2 paragraphs on O’Connor’s didactic message in Everything that Rises Must Converge. What lesson is she trying to teach her characters? How does she use Southern Gothic elements (irony and the grotesque) to accomplish this?