Motifs and Symbols in Everything That Rises Must Converge

Of the numerous convergences of the story, that of the hat is of utmost importance. Both Hat and Penny are used as symbols by the author to represent two different perspectives of people converging on a specific point to make the reader understand the contemporary issues of the American Society. It is not a mere coincidence that both, the black and the white woman, are wearing the same hat but it is a reinforcement of the changing times that Carver’s mother can also wear the same hat as that of a white woman and can ride the same bus. The hat brings both women on the same plane of status and class. The ferocity of such convergence arises from the conflicts of old codes and new-found identity of these characters. While Mrs. Chestny infuriates Carver’s Mother with her old codes of manner, on the other hand, Carver’s Mother in a bid to reinforce her identity, trespasses the humane codes and strikes Julian’s Mother with her bag.

The Penny that Mrs. Chestny gives to Carver symbolizes her patronizing attitude towards black people. Although she offers the penny out of her love and kindness but she doesn’t realize the racist and condescending undertones of her offering. For centuries, the black people have been suppressed by the white people for material wealth and goods. The black people have been allowed only basic things for their livelihood. The act of giving money to Carver is therefore a symbolic continuation of the Blacks’ dependence on Whites. Fueled by centuries of rage and anger, Carver’s mother lashes out at Mrs. Chestny and rejects her offering.

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