Social Convergence

On September 3rd, 2011, Posted by author

Last modified: October 26, 2015

The sixties in America saw the rise of the civil rights movements and the shifting roles in status of the black and white people in society. The blacks were slowly rising up out of their segregated past and with better jobs and incomes were

slowly attaining higher levels in the societal hierarchy. At the same time, there were many white families who were on the way down due to their reduced circumstances. This juxtaposition brought its own problems and issues not only for the families involved but for the society and the races as a whole.

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin said in his philosophical work 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.” He was talking about the spiritual convergence of man with his Maker. Using the sentence ‘everything that rises must converge,’ from this quote, Flannery O’Connor wrote a story that illustrates the problems faced by the upwardly mobile blacks and the downwardly mobile whites in the sixties in America. Julian and his mother belong to the poor white category and the way the face the world in their reduced circumstances is the theme of this story.

Julian’s mother feels that “the world is in a mess” with the turnaround of the societal roles of the blacks and whites in that period. She feels that the rising stature of the blacks is not very desirable and that they should stay “on their own side of the fence”, the invisible boundary between the segregated and the whites. She cannot tolerate the social convergence that was taking place because the blacks had gained equal rights through integration. The society as she knew it had turned upside down. The encounter with the black woman on the bus, that itself a convergence point, shows that they would not allow themselves to reach out and converge with the other, each because of their unpleasant pasts and the present circumstances.

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