Circle in the Fire and Everything That Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Circle in the Fire," and "Everything that Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor

This is a paper on the analysis of the two books "A Circle in the Fire," and "Everything that Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor, which exposes many similarities between them.

The two stories of Flannery O'Connor are written from a matriarchal perspective and depict the lives of women in control of other's lives or property. They show that no matter how much wealth a person may amass, they are all still prone to suffer. Thus, there is an element of 'twist of fate' in both these pieces of literature. It also shows that as these leading characters are women they should understand the world from their softer perspective because of the fact that there are still others of their type in a worse of position financially, as well as politically. Instead, we see the opposite from this race (women). They should be kinder to each other and appreciate that each of them has a certain amount of freedom and respect that they didn't have before.

The author brings out the bias that is already embedded in each and every one of us. It appears that no matter how far we may come it is very difficult for us to get rid of this injustice that dwells within each and everyone, and is likely to spring out when we least expect it to. These stories tell the reader about the various experiences such women have gone through in their days when they had to be strong. The lower class of women was seen as suffering in two ways. The first was because they were of a lower class, and the second was because they were women (Reynolds, R. 1998) (Brittain, 2001).


"A Circle in the Fire" tells the reader about fear that a woman (Mrs. Copes) feels when she is in charge of a lot of property. She believes that her property is the most beautiful thing that she has, as compared to that of the others living in the same area. Mrs. Cope says, "I have the best kept place in the county and do you know why? Because I work. I've had to work to save this place and work to keep it. . . . I don't let anything get ahead of me and I'm not always looking for trouble. I take it as it comes." This is the ego of women like her who try to show off what they ought to really protect from the attention of observers. In this way they would not take so much interest in the same that might cause them to envy and then destroy the same because of her boasting. It is almost a natural response for the youth to destroy whatever the hardworking, rich and boastful woman had worked for (Reynolds, R. 1998) (Brittain, 2001).

Mrs. Copes' fear of course is the group of boys whom she fears will over run her property and destroy the lovely forest around it. It appears that her boastful attitude leads to her downfall. This is because she keeps telling the three boys that she has the best house in the area and makes much of her property. The same is seen in the incident that takes place on the bus in which Julian's mother objects to a Black American lady wearing the same type of hat that she is. Here the reader can see that it is the ego in her that caused her to have a stroke. The reader can also see that there is a shift of feelings in Julian before and after realizing that his mother gave the little Black boy a penny. Julian is at first angered by the action of his mother. She was enraged over the fact that the Black woman was wearing the same type of hat that she was, and then tried to belittle her by giving the little boy some money. In a moments time Julian realizes that his mother was having a stroke, and then the reader sees that Julian's feelings too change within a flash, from anger to sorrow for his mother (Reynolds, R. 1998) (Brittain, 2001).

There is a similarity in the two books with regard to the shift of emotions that the reader experiences. Mrs. Copes, after boasting about the way that she kept her property and the surrounding area, must have felt on top of the world in front of the eyes of the three boys. She also may have wanted to get a message across to them that spoke of her hard earned property, so that they would appreciate her work, though at the same time she feared them and felt that they were going to ruin her property. Thus, at the time when the latter took place there was also a shift of emotion from pride to sorrow (Reynolds, R. 1998) (Brittain, 2001).

In "Everything that Rises Must Converge" we see that here there is a woman who is left in charge of her own life and her son. In the story she is actually portrayed as a shortsighted woman but yet one who knows which direction that she has to take to get what is best in life. Here she is in charge of her son. This corresponds to Mrs. Copes in "A Circle in the Fire" being in charge of her land.

Both the stories "Everything that Rises Must Converge" and "A Circle in the Fire" are an attempt to show the differences that exist between the upper and lower classes. In "Everything that Rises Must Converge" the author has also shown the differences that exist between the Black and White communities in the 1960s. In both the stories we see that these attempts are failed ones and that there will, according to the O'Connor, always be a difference between the two classes. This is because the upper class always fear that the lower class are out to come up to their level and take over their property. In "A Circle in the Fire" we see that this fear in the end turns out to be something that has come true. This is manifested in the behavior of the three boys that set the beautiful forest on fire. The property that Mrs. Copes holds in the surroundings resembles the earthly and materialistic, glittery world that she bases all importance on. Thus the boys were tempted to destroy it. Mrs. Copes is in a way similar to Satan laying emphasis on the material world that serves as temptation to the three boys. In the same way Mrs. Cope, stresses that her house and property is the most beautiful and this is the temptation that lures the boys to carry out their evil deed. The reader also notices the three sisters of the circle are seen as a contrast of the Holy Trinity, and it serves as the materialistic version of it (Reynolds, R. 1998) (Brittain, 2001).


There is a lot of similarity between these two books by Flannery O'Connor "A Circle in the Fire" and "Everything that Rises Must Converge." Each of them has a different setting but they both carry similar meanings. "Everything that Rises Must Converge" takes place in urban life. One scene in particular takes place on an integrated transport, where people of different backgrounds are placed together by fate. In "A Circle in the Fire" the setting is in a farmland where the rich own everything. Though there are many elements in common in these two books there are two things that come out very clearly, and these are the elements of matriarchal control and class conflict. Both these have been dominant throughout the books. Matriarchal control is evident because of the women…

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