Everything That Rises Must Converge

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Everything That Rises Must Converge
First edition cover
AuthorFlannery O'Connor
CountryUnited States
GenreShort stories
PublisherFarrar Straus Giroux
Publication date
January 1965
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages269 pp

Everything That Rises Must Converge is a collection of short stories written by Flannery O'Connor during the final decade of her life. The collection's eponymous story derives its name from the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.[1][2] The collection was published posthumously in 1965 and contains an introduction by Robert Fitzgerald. Of the volume's nine stories, seven had been printed in magazines or literary journals prior to being collected. "Judgment Day" is a dramatically reworked version of "The Geranium," which was one of O'Connor's earliest publications and appeared in her graduate thesis at the University of Iowa. "Parker's Back," the collection's only completely new story, was a last-minute addition.


"Everything That Rises Must Converge"[edit]

The story is told from the close third-person point of view of Julian, a recent college graduate and self-styled intellectual who lives with his mother because he cannot afford his own lodgings with the pittance he earns as a typewriter salesman. The mother, whose worldview reflects the blatant racism of the mid-twentieth century American South, wishes to attend an exercise session at a nearby community center, but is wary of riding the bus by herself in light of the recent racial integration of the city's public transportation system. Though he despises his mother's racism, cheeriness, and intellectual aloofness, Julian resentfully agrees to escort her, if only out of a sense of duty to the woman who paid his way through college and continues to support him even afterward. His confrontational bitterness and her thoughtless prejudice bring the circumstances to a boil when they step onto the bus and join a widely disparate cast of characters, among them three African American citizens who inhabit vastly different regions of the social spectrum.

The title Everything That Rises Must Converge refers to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the "Omega Point":[3] "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."[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Lost (TV series) episode at the end of the fifth season, "The Incident," Jacob is seen reading Everything That Rises Must Converge while he waits for John Locke (Lost) to fall from a window in the background.[5]

The band Shriekback put out a song by this title in 1985.


  1. ^ Whitt, Margaret Earley (1997-08-01). Understanding Flannery O'Connor. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-225-4.
  2. ^ Chardin, Pierre Teilhard De (1969). Building the Earth and The Psychological Conditions of Human Unification. Avon (Discus Edition). p. 11.
  3. ^ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The Phenomenon of Man.
  4. ^ Analysis of Everything That Rises Must Converge Archived 2010-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Poniewozik, James (May 14, 2009). "Lostwatch: Everything That Rises Must Converge. Eventually. Right?". TIME.

External links[edit]