Social Order and Disorder in Everything That Rises Must Converge

‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’ is a story about the breaking of traditional social order and hierarchies that the integration has led to. In traditional Southern American Culture there is an emphasis on “who you are” which determines one’s place in the social order. The person is supposed to behave in a certain way based on one’s birth and class. Mrs. Chestny argues that the culture of a person is reflected by what’s in their heart and how they “do things”, both are immediate product of “who you are”. This sense of social order is based on Mrs. Chestny’s desire to cling to their past history and lineage. However, Julian is vexed by such thoughts as the estate is now in ruins. The gothic world of their neighborhood with sky being “dying violet” and the houses being in ugly state is in complete contrast with the romantic memories of their past lineage. This ugly neighborhood clearly suggests the death of the old order in the story.

After the fight between Mrs. Chestny and Carver’s Mother, the peak point of social disorder, the utter chaos extends to the face of Mrs. Chestny. Her distorted face implies that her belief in the old social order is destroyed. The incident manifests that O’Connor never suggests that a newer or a better order has risen to replace the old order. Instead she subverts the idea of any order by depicting that there isn’t much consistency or moral logic to the world they live in. Both the black and white people have not shown any consistency to maintain a simplistic moral order in the society. The story’s ending seems to suggest that the possibility of a shared order and morality is bleak.

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