Ignorance Does Not Discriminate

“Everything that Rises Must Converge”: Ignorance Does Not Discriminate The short story “Everything that Rises Must Converge” by Flannery O’Connor describes how ignorance has no boundaries. The story of a young man named Julian and his prejudice mother living a time following the end of segregation. Julian despises his mother’s need to feel superior and pities her ignorance. Julian is conflicted by the fact that his mother will never change and toys with different ways to teach her a lesson and end her superiority complex.
The story ends tragically with both Julian and his mother learning a very difficult lesson- that ignorance does not discriminate. Julian’s mother is trapped in a time when she feels superior to Negros because of her skin color, last name and family history. Julian struggles to make her understand that times have changed and she is no better than anyone else regardless of her history.
In contrast, Julian’s mother attempts to elevate his worth by reminding him of the sacrifices she has made to enable him to have privileges such as nice teeth and a college education. These things should make Julian feel superior as well. The irony of this story is that despite the constant struggle to teach each other a lesson about equality, a stranger showed both Julian and his mother that they were both equally ignorant.

When Julian’s mother is physically assaulted by a negro woman for a simple gesture, the lesson begins. Though meant to be kindness to a child, Julian’s mother was completely ignorant about how offensive the gesture was to the child’s mother. As Julian watched the event with satisfaction that his mother was finally being taught her lesson in equality, Julian unknowingly allowed a stranger’s ignorance to take his own mother in return for a lifetime of regret and guilt.
The negro woman loses her temper and Julian’s mother loses her life. Because all three characters refuse to be patient and open minded with each other, no one wins. Julian and his mother lose the most. The negro woman and her child lose also. She lost the opportunity to show her child a better way to deal with ignorance. She also walked away with a bit more hate in her heart. Thus the ignorance will likely continue to be paid forward.

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