Flannery O Connor The Life You Save May Be Your Own Summary

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Flannery O’Connor was known for writing characters who had dubious moral and intellectual capabilities, and she often liked to write on the theme of the tragic realities of everyday life. She often linked her writing to religion and how the world had become ignorant of values. In her short story, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, she tells the story of three odd and grotesque characters. The short story begins with a man, Mr. Tom Shiftlet, coming upon Lucynell Crater and her daughter, Lucynell. The man seems a bit odd and he only has one arm. He fixes up their plantation and the old car and gains the trust of the women. He even teaches the deaf Lucynell how to say the word “bird.” The mom wishes deeply for a son-in-law and she feels that the …show more content…

Shiftlet. Mrs. Crater talks Mr. Shiftlet into marring her daughter and then she sends them off for their honeymoon in the newly fixed car. The end proves very dramatic. When learning the fates of Mrs. Crater, Mr Shiftlet, and Lucynell, it leads one to wonder how their fates relate to the title of O’Connor’s short story, The Life You Save May Be Your Own. To begin, Mrs. Crater’s fate really relates to the title The Life You Save May Be Your Own. Towards the end of the short story, she completely and utterly trusts Mr. Shiftlet. She trusts him so much that she gives him her daughters hand in marriage. Mrs. Crater desperately wishes for a son-in-law but she said she won’t ever let no man take her away from her. After Mr. Shiftlet teaches Lucynell how to say the word “bird” (the first word she’s ever spoken) Mrs. Crater hints at the marriage by saying she wants him to teach her to say “sugar pie.” The very last scene with Mrs. Crater in the short story is when she is saying goodbye to the couple for the weekend. She has tears in her eyes because she’s never been …show more content…

The short story ends with her marrying Mr. Shiftlet and then being abandoned by him at a diner while she’s sleeping. Lucynell has pink-blonde hair and “the girl was nearly thirty but because of her innocence it was impossible to guess” (The Life You Save May Be Your Own). She was deaf and could not say a word until Mr. Shiftlet taught her to say “bird.” She was innocent and uncorrupted, an "angel of Gawd." Mrs. Crater knew that Mr. Shiftlet wanted a women who was innocent and she also wanted a son-in-law. To her, he was the perfect opportunity for her and her daughter. Lucynell is blind to the cruelties of the world, she’s a beautiful prize. But, because of her mother's blind selfishness, Lucynell is wed to an imposter and is abandoned. It is sad that this beautiful, innocent, and deaf girl is left to probably become corrupted by the world and the cruel people in it. Lucynell had no choice in her marriage and going away with Mr. Shiftlet, and she was not able to make her own decisions. She wasn’t capable of saving her own

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