Flannery O'Connor's two narratives, "Everything That Rises Must Converge" and "Good Country People," are different stories presenting different characters, different plots, and different themes; however, both stories revolve around a mother and her child and their relationship. "Everything That Rises Must Converge" concerns Julian and his mother, and "Good Country People" concerns Hulga and her mother. As the two stories unfold, the similarities between Julian and Hulga, two seemingly different individuals, become apparent. The two, who appears unlike at first, turn out to have characteristics similar to one another. Both Julian and Hulga exhibit an educated and a proud character. They both use other people to validate their beliefs, and they both face a situation where they learn a lesson that they have to recognize for themselves.
At the beginning of each story, O'Connor presents each character as learned, conceited, and self-righteous.
Julian has just graduated from college, which is a big achievement, considering that her mother did it all by herself. Julian is an aspiring writer who, for now, sells typewriters and lives with his mother. He thinks of himself as very intelligent. In fact, he often draws himself "into the inner compartment of his mind . . . the only place where he [feels] free of the general idiocy of his fellows." In the same way, Hulga is a 32-year old woman who holds a Ph. D. in Philosophy and currently lives with her mother. She, like Julian, also thinks of herself as superior to others. She thinks
that if she only can, "[s]he would be in a university lecturing to people who know what she [is] talking about. She also thinks to herself, "[A] true genius can get an idea across even to an inferior mind." The...