Any story that includes a character going to an exercise class in a fancy hat and gloves deserves our attention. In "Everything That Rises Must Converge," we spend a lot of time with middle- to lower-class whites. We know that Julian's mother "suffered" to feed, clothe, and put him through school, and that their neighborhood is kind of gross. We also see a relatively new class of African-Americans, those who are rising in economic status. The black man who gets on the bus is well-dressed, Carver is in a suit and hat, and his mother carries a large purse, suggesting an accumulation of wealth. Can we judge these books—er, people—by their covers?
Julian and his mother both fantasize about a return to the old mansion and the days when they were wealthier—during slavery.
Julian believes that education makes you who you are, while his mother believes where you come from and how you present yourself makes you who you are. Who, if either, is correct?