Epiphany The experience of one being awakened to unforeseen thoughts or ideas is generally known as an epiphany. Many of Flannery O’Conner’s writings which comprises of tragic events that eventually lead his characters into appalling situations, ultimately serves as an example of some sort of revelation or epiphany to the character. One example of O’Conner’s writing that depicts such theme is the short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” which tells of the story of a recent college student, Julian escorting his mother to a weight-loss class.
The two characters reveal contrasting and distinct viewpoints towards racial discrimination. In their encounter with a black mother and her child on the bus, their behaviors incited conflicting impressions towards each other, which ultimately lead to confrontation and hostility. Another of O’Conner’s writing, the short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” tells of a family on vacation to Tennessee. During their trip, the grandmother convinced the family to visit a nearby plantation. However, she soon realized she was mistaken of the location of the plantation.
This fatal error leads the family into a secluded forest, where they encounter The Misfit. While O’Conner concludes both stories, with a revelation of the characters in both stories, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” portrays clearer and more distinctive epiphanies of the characters than “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. In “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” the effect of the epiphanies of the characters was longer lasting and had a greater impact on the reader. O’Conner presented false impressions and tension between the mother and Julian through acts of violence.
These acts of violence in the story serve as an epiphany because it demonstrated the results of condescending behavior. Julian disregarded his mother, while his mother was condescending towards the black individuals. Julian’s misinterpretation of his mother’s action explained the realization that one’s initial motive is not always perceived correctly. The mother knew that children are very present oriented, that they love instant gratification. The mother offering such gifts was her way of displaying her affection and her attempt to connect with the children.
“His mother would open her purse and give the little boy a nickel. The gesture would be as natural to her as breathing (9, O’Conner). ” The mother loves any child, regarding of their race; “she thought little Negroes were on the whole cuter than little white children (7, O’Conner). ” The mother’s gift towards Carver, the black child, was a gift of affection and connection. However, Julian failed to prevent the action of his mother giving the penny to the child. While the mother was unable to find a nickel to give Carver, she found a shimmering, new penny instead.
Carver’s mother assumed that the mother was giving Carver the penny as an act of condensation, and raged at the mother screaming, “He don’t take nobody’s pennies! (9, O’Conner). ” After the surprise attack that the mother received from Carver’s mom, Julian’s realization that he took his mother’s actions wrongly and his mother got seriously hurt. He also realized that his had taken his own convergence towards his own mother, when he said, “I hate to see you behave like this (10, O’Conner).
” From this experience, Julian learned to be more accepting towards his mother’s viewpoints. Without judging firsthand, Julian and his mother wouldn’t be as nip picky towards one another, and would understand each other true interior as well as exterior motives. Another epiphany in the short novel was when his mom’s life was on the line. Julian instantly turned from being a stranger towards his mom to suddenly became a child begging for help to save his mother’s life, “ “Mother! ” he cried. “Darling, sweetheart, wait! ” (10, O’Conner).
” From this scene Julian had his ultimate epiphany, a sudden realization that regardless of how broken one’s relationship is with his or her parents, there is a reservation of love within the depths of one’s heart for them. There were also several ironies that were present in Julian’s action after his mother’s death. Throughout most of the short novel, Julian thinks he is superior over his own mother. He was even pleased when his mother was taught a lesson by the Carver’s mom, saying, “You got exactly what you deserved (9, O’Conner).
” However, when his mother collapsed, his pride towards his mother quickly collapses, and his attitude shifted from as a stranger into as a little boy crying desperately for help, “he cried and jumped up and began to run for help toward a cluster of lights he saw in the distance ahead of him (10, O’Conner). ” Julian also showed his weakness towards the end of the novel after not being able to help his mother in time, “but his voice was thin, scarcely a thread of sound. The lights drifted farther away the faster he ran and his feet moved numbly as if they carried him nowhere.
” Through the death of his mother, Julian’s ironic actions showed that the epiphany had longer effects on the characters because he must live with the guilt and partial responsibly of his mother’s fatality. In the novel, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the main characters also experienced various epiphanies; but the epiphanies did not appear as strong, “Everything that Rises Must Converge. ” The epiphany was that when the grandmother told the Misfit that she forgave him and that he needs to pray was because it was her way of attempting to convince the Misfit not to harm her, by trying to convince him that he is a “good man” like her.
However, the Misfit said something that tested the grandmother’s belief of Christianity. The Misfit pointed out, “‘Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead . . . and He shouldn’t have done it. [… ] If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can (12, O’Connor). ” This statement made the grandmother question herself and doubt whether it was worth believing in her religion or not.
It was ironic that towards the end of the story because right before she died, not only was she unable to convince the Misfit to not harm her, but she was convinced by the Misfit the core of her own beliefs, as she said, “Maybe He didn’t raise the dead (12, O’Connor). ” Another epiphany that the grandmother had was when the “grandmother’s head cleared for an instant (12, O’Conner),” and tries to reach out when she saw “the man’s face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry (12, O’Conner).
” The grandmother realized that Misfit is also confused and misguided throughout his life and about his religion. However, the Misfit tries to deny the accepting of his weakness, by shooting the grandmother three times on the chest. The Misfit also experienced an epiphany during his encounter with the grandmother. He stated that, “if I had been there I would of known and I wouldn’t be like I am now (12, O’Conner). ” The Misfit appears to be showing some kind of weakness, because after he shot the grandmother, the “Misfit’s eyes were red-rimmed and pale and defenseless-looking.
” The Misfit also admits that “It’s no real pleasure in life. ” Often, people have startling realizations of things they need to change, but, for indistinguishable reasons, revert to their old selves. In both short novels, “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” has a stronger lasting epiphany than the “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” because Julian has to live with the guilt of killing his mother, while the Misfit both doubted their religion, but then later on went back to their old selves.