The conflict in “Everything That Rises Must Converge” is clear at the very beginning of the story. O’Connor immediately gives the reader the conflict between Julian and his mother and their relationship. Julian is a college graduate still living with his mom not doing what he wants, and his mom is a stereotypical southern white woman for the time period. These two do not mix well as their virtues and philosophies clash throughout the story. O’Connor shows this at the very beginning with the hat argument and even with the exposition in the first paragraph. The conflict is immediately presented for the reader allowing the rest of the story to build until the end.
Conflict is the main reason for what my characters do and say. Since my first story is a kind of mystery each aspect of my characters has to move the plot along. This is plainly seen in my character Detective Durden. He is assigned to the case of finding more evidence against a guy who is suspected of killing his wife. This presents an inner conflict in him because two years before that his wife went missing and was found dead. So, he is fighting with an internal conflict of his job and personal justice. This drives the plot and drives him to solve the case beyond a reason of doubt. Conflict is also within my character suspected of killing his wife because he knows he didn’t do it and wants to find who did. He also never really loved his wife but is dealing with her death with sadness and regret. So, he also has an internal conflict he is fighting. So, both of my characters have a conflict at their core moving the plot along.
In this story, Clareese is an overzealous and innocent character blind to the world around her (Almost literally). She believes so deeply in her faith that everything she does is based on her belief. Usually, I wouldn’t like a character like this because they can get annoying over time and can be a simple character. However, in this story, I feel sorry for her. I don’t necessarily like or dislike her, I just see who she is and the situation she is in and I know that it isn’t completely her fault. She seems to have an almost cult mentality to her religion which is a product of her “mentors” that have brainwashed her. This is why I can’t dislike her because she is so innocent to what is really going on, and I can’t like her because she is this brainwashed, annoying zealot. I don’t think she truly believes what she is saying but only saying it because it is what she has been told to say. The people that are “guiding” her have assaulted her and don’t treat her with respect all in behind the guise of their religion. So, how is she supposed to act when that is all she knows. I just feel sorry for her because she is an innocent girl that seems to have been brainwashed into acting the way she is acting.
He led Andy back to his cell and closed the door making sure no one was around.
“What are you doing?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Considering…”
“I know. But are you OK?”
Durden raised an eyebrow looking at Andy’s hands.
“Oh. You noticed…”
“Hard not to. Do you remember a couple of years back when a woman here in town went missing and was found dead?”
“I remember what happened to your wife. Sorry for your loss…”
“Listen to me. I’m hoping and praying you didn’t do this because I don’t think I could control myself. You get me?”
“Good. Either way, I’m going to find out who killed your wife without any doubt. I want you to know that. There will be justice.”
Durden pointed to Andy’s hands.
“It’s not gonna get any easier, trust me. You might want to find something else to use as a release, ok?”
Jeff woke up shivering from the cool air blowing into the cell. The fluorescent light temporarily blinding him. As he sat up, he licked his lips and swallowed trying to wet his dry mouth. He looked around slowly remembering where he was. Standing up, a dull pain hit his back as he hunched over. The concrete bed was not forgiving. He stretched and felt the satisfying pop of his bones. He walked up to the bars and saw the guards sitting and talking. One of them was walking by the cells dragging his baton across the bars causing an annoyingly loud bang with each hit. Then a loud beep sounded from the ceiling and a voice statically announced, “Roll Call!” The cell doors rolled open and Jeff stepped out along with the other inmates ready for another day in paradise.
As Jeff mowed his overgrown front yard that his wife Jennifer had been asking him to do for days, he couldn’t help but stare at the open window of the neighbor’s house across the street. Inside stood the husband waving his arms holding some sort of paper. He could never remember the guy’s name and didn’t really care to either. The neighbors quickly walked into the frame of the window shoving the husband and began what looked like yelling at the man. Jeff couldn’t help but keep staring as the husband clenched the paper in his hand pushing it into his wife’s face. They continued the shouting match for about five minutes until the wife stormed out of the scene and outside to her car driving away. The husband looks at the paper one last time before throwing it on the floor and sitting defeatedly in the chair behind him. The silent film ended and with that so did Jeff’s interest into the lives of his neighbors. “Looks like we got a divorce on the way,” Jeff quipped aloud to himself. He finished his duty to his wife and headed inside with a proud grin on his face thinking how nice the lawn looked and how good of job he had done.
As stated by Gardner, “Detail is the lifeblood of fiction.” This is completely true and applies to every form of fiction. Without details, there is no believability. You can’t capture a reader in your story unless they believe that it could have happened no matter the setting. When reading Smith’s story I noticed a lot of details that helped establish the location and feel of Tabitha’s surroundings. This includes the examples of Wal-Mart and Sonic and The Strip. This also includes Momma’s house and everything around it. This helped me visualize the setting and made it a believable world.
However, to me, it felt like the characters lacked the same amount detail that was put into the setting. It was hard for to believe that she would be engaged to Daniel. Throughout the whole story, she talks about how she doesn’t believe in God and yet she gets engaged to a Preacher? The only reason I could see for this is that it is part of her wanting a sign from God or help to believe in God but I didn’t see that in the story. The only clear detail of their relationship is when she says what he is saying is bullshit. I think it would have been better to have some detail about why she would be engaged to him and why she loves him. I was just hoping for some more character development.
I understand this a short story and there probably wasn’t room for this, or Smith had a clear vision of what their relationship was. It just didn’t convince me and that’s just my opinion. It did have great detail when it came to the setting. It was just lacking on the side of the characters, for me. It was still done well and used a great amount of detail when the story did.